Religious leaders have staged a prayer vigil in the foyer of a federal cabinet minister’s electorate office to make a point about children behind bars.
Priests and church leaders opposed to the detention of asylum seeker children have staged a prayer vigil inside the federal health minister’s electorate office.
A Catholic priest, three Anglican ministers and leaders from the Uniting and Wesleyan Methodist denominations staged a lunchtime sit-down protest in the foyer of Peter Dutton’s northern Brisbane office on Tuesday.
Parishioners from their churches also held up placards outside the Strathpine office denouncing the mandatory detention of minors.
While the minister was in Canberra attending a cabinet meeting, Uniting Church pastor David Busch hoped Mr Dutton would raise the welfare of asylum-seeker children with his coalition colleagues.
“We are wanting to put this to the attention of as many federal cabinet ministers as possible,” the spokesman for ecumenical Love Makes A Way group told AAP.
“If you’re in the health portfolio, you must have a concern for the health and wellbeing of all Australians and all people in Australia’s care, and we hope he would be an advocate, in cabinet, in the government party room, in parliament, for the health and best interests of these children.”
The protesters read passages from scripture during the vigil.
Mr Busch said Child Protection Week was a time for the health minister to demand the release of everyone younger than 18 from immigration detention.
“This is a significant health issue,” he said.
“We are putting young and vulnerable people at risk, it’s a policy that should not be continued with.”
Mr Dutton’s spokesman declined to comment on the protest.