T4R MEDIA RELEASE 7/11 | Teachers Walk Off for Refugees spreads to Queensland

Teachers are not appeased by government promises to get kids off Nauru by Christmas. Queensland Teachers Union delegates voted unanimously on Saturday to join the Victorian teacher Walk Off protest on November 20th. The Queensland teachers are demanding all the children and their families must be off Nauru by November 20th.

Victorian teachers remain committed to the walk off, now endorsed by the Victorian Branch of the Australian Education Union. Teachers for Refugees Victoria demand all refugees to be brought to Australia from the offshore camps, for permanent resettlement in the Australian community, not in onshore detention.

Participating teachers in Queensland will walk off the job at 2:30, and meet for a “Change the Rules for Refugees” rally at 4pm, King George’s Square. Hundreds of Victorian teachers will walk out of school on the same day in time to assemble at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne at 2:30pm. They will be joined by members of the National Tertiary Education Union.  Teachers across the country will also participate in a “Wear Blue for Nauru” day on the 13th of November.

“If the government can evacuate the children by Christmas, it can evacuate them now, and not just the children, but every person in Australia’s offshore camps.” said Lucy Honan from Teachers for Refugees in Victoria.

“We do not trust this government with refugee lives. There are 19 children from Nauru held in detention at the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) centre in Broadmeadows, and they are not allowed to go to school. There are 4 babies in MITA including twins in a family of 7. They were separated until last week with pregnant Mum here and father and children left behind in Nauru. Men on Manus like Nayser Ahmed have been separated from their families for more than 5 years. Offshore detention is a cruel and failed policy, the camps must close for good.”

“Teachers for Refugees and People Seeking Asylum are appalled at how the human rights of children and families held on Nauru have been violated. Enough is enough – these innocent children deserve the freedoms that all Australian children enjoy and they must be brought here to recover from the trauma and abuse they have suffered,”said Jessica Walker, spokesperson for Teachers for Refugees and People Seeking Asylum, QLD.

“Compassionate people know that we must stand up and speak up for these children. As teachers we must live and breathe the social justice values we teach in our schools. Our students are looking to us to take action and stand up for human rights” Walker continued.

Jessica Walker, spokesperson for Teachers for Refugees and People Seeking Asylum in Queensland: 0457536046
Lucy Honan, Teachers for Refugees Victoria: 0404728104