Those attending tried their luck with a raffle and open door prizes and enjoyed a two course buffet meal and plenty of good company. The guest speaker was Chief Executive Officer, Refugee Council of Australia, Paul Power. Paul spoke about the current refugee crisis in Europe, concerns surrounding the plight of refugees and asylum seekers internationally and Australia’s response, historically and more recently. In drawing his comments to a close, Paul outlined ways in which Catholics might respond to the current situation:
- Stay informed about refugee issues internationally and locally and tell friends and colleagues;
- Raise concerns about current refugee policies with local politicians;
- Volunteer in services supporting refugees;
- Create opportunities for people to speak about their experiences as refugees;
- Encourage local councils and councillors to become involved in ‘refugees welcome’ zones;
- Support fund raising to assist people who work with refugees.
Coinciding with the release of the Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement 2015-16 For Those Who’ve Come Across The Seas: Justice for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Mr Power’s comments highlighted the urgent need for individuals, communities and governments to reflect on current attitudes and polices and work towards greater understanding and acceptance for refugees and asylum seekers.
The Spring Dinner is an annual event. This year the event was organised by a small group of dedicated volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the gathering.