The Victorian State Council of the Australian Education Union has overwhelmingly endorsed the following motion:
The AEU condemns the Federal Government’s treatment of refugees who are currently held in lockdown at a Preston hotel.
The government has abrogated their responsibility for the rights and welfare of these refugees generally and specifically in the context of the response to COVID-19 by failing to provide sufficient:
• space to enable the required social distancing between refugees and between refugees and guards
• hygiene products such as soap
• personal protective equipment where necessary.
The increased risk to the refugees is significant given that they have come to Australia under the Medevac legislation and have considerable medical problems, which make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
The AEU, consistent with existing policy, calls on the government to immediately allow refugees and asylum seekers to be released safely into suitable community care arrangements.
Further the AEU reinforces its support for the right of Victorians to engage in safe political protest free from the fear of arrest. Appropriate political protest is a fundamental civil right which should not be thwarted by charging or fining protesters.
The AEU calls for the charge of incitement to be dropped against Chris Breen, and for the fines against all 29 refugee rights supporters to be withdrawn.