Marilyn Leeks, pictured with protesters out the front of Richmond MP Justine Elliot’s office today. Last Thursday the group held a vigil outside of Nationals’ candidate Matthew Fraser’s office in Ballina.
Marilyn Leeks, pictured with protesters out the front of Richmond MP Justine Elliot’s office today. Last Thursday the group held a vigil outside of Nationals’ candidate Matthew Fraser’s office in Ballina. Scott Powick

Protests roll out with pre-polling booths

PROTESTORS against Australia’s policy on refugees and off-shore detention centres have planned a series of vigils outside pre-polling booths in Richmond, in the hope of swaying early voters as they prepare to vote.

About a third of eligible Australians are expected to cast their vote before election day on July 2.

It’s a fact not lost on the Northern Network for Refugees who waved placards outside of the office of sitting Labor MP Justine Elliot today before their vigil at a Tweed Heads pre-polling booth.

The group is linked to Uki Refugee Group and the Pottsville Refugee Support Group, with representative Marilyn Leeks hopeful of lobbying voters and political parties for a change in asylum-seeker policy.

“The human rights abuses of asylum seekers includes detention without any individualised assessment of the need for detention,” she said.

“It includes no definite date for their release; no clear means to seek review of the lawfulness of their detention and inhumane treatment and punishment.

“We just felt really strongly that the issue should be raised in this electorate.”

Uki Refugee project secretary Penny Watssord said they supported the vigils and their call for “a more compassionate stance” on asylum seekers.

“We are a reasonably wealthy country compared to other countries in the world,” Ms Watssord said.

“Manus Island and Christmas Island detention centres are unacceptable in a country that values human freedom and compassion.”

Mrs Watssord invited residents to attend a special screening of Chasing Asylum on Saturday at Murwillumbah’s Regent Cinema from 6pm. Tickets cost $15.



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