Thursday, August 31, 2006


The following letter was composed through consultation with members of the Social Justice Network, the Conference of Churches of Christ in VIC/TAS and presented to the office of the Prime Minister of Australia on behalf of our movement.

24 July 2006

The Hon John Howard MP
Prime Minister
Room MG8
Parliament House


Dear Prime Minister


At the 141st Annual General Meeting of Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania, the delegates present from our 145 churches overwhelmingly adopted the following three motions, to which we now draw your attention:

The plight of Holders of Bridging Visa Type E

This Conference of Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania asks that the Australian Government change this policy, which denies many people seeking asylum (on bridging visas type E) the right to work, Medicare and income support thereby ensuring they have adequate means to survive as they go through the appropriate legal process.

In addition to the adoption of this motion, the Annual General Meeting of Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania also recommended to the churches of the Conference that they offer assistance to these

People, by whatever means possible, as part of our Christian discipleship and ministry.

The plight of Guantanamo Bay and Political Prisoners

This Conference of Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania expresses to the Australian Government our deep concern for the international prisoners being held illegally in the US facility at Guantanamo Bay, and urge our government in every way possible to apply pressure to the USA to these ends:

  • without delay, bring those held at the Guantanamo Bay facility who are accused of a crime to trial in the USA under the non-military laws of that country, and/or repatriate them to the country of their citizenship for trial under the laws of that land; and
  • ensure the speedy release of those being held at the Guantanamo Bay facility not accused of criminal activity.

Policy on the Possession of Nuclear Weapons

This Conference of Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania urges the Australian Government to maintain the long standing policy of unqualified support for the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and:

(a) to work zealously for all nations to become signatories to the Treaty;

(b) to seek that those countries known to have, or are suspected of, possession of nuclear weapons, or of developing programs to that end, disarm themselves of those weapons, discontinue all programs for the development/production of these weapons and submit themselves to the inspection program by the International Atomic Energy Agency;

(c) to rigorously continue its policy of not allowing uranium from Australia to be traded to countries that are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty;

(d) to refuse to be involved in any military action with the goal of removing unauthorised nuclear weapons from another nation-state without first having the express sanction of the United Nations Security Council for such action; and

(e) to actively work towards the peaceful reduction and eventual elimination of all atomic weapons including those held by those currently entitled to possess them under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

We will continue to pray for you, your ministers and advisors in the demanding tasks of leadership of our nation.