Madeleine West's open letter

Actress, mother and ASRC ambassador Madeleine West shares her message of welcome for refugees and people seeking asylum. Read her open letter below.

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An open letter to Australia

We pride ourselves on being ‘The Lucky Country’ – a land of opportunity and freedom. A proudly multicultural nation whose diversity is its strength, not weakness.

Our home is a collective – less a cultural melting pot and more a magnificent, many-hued tapestry woven from the learned and lived experiences, traditions and stories of many. Each strand makes us more remarkable, every thread makes us stronger. But this powerful patchwork is easily rent when the hopes, dreams and aspirations of many are dictated by policies which represent only a few.

We cannot discount the incredible resilience demonstrated by migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum and their collective contribution to our Australian story of progress and diversity. But government policies and the national narrative surrounding people who come here seeking safety and a better life for themselves and their families tend to demonize and punish such brave and resilient people and does not facilitate the telling of their full stories.

It is human nature to fear that which we don’t know. But an even more natural human impulse is to show others kindness and respect; irrespective of their colour, creed, orientation or where they come from.

It is only through the sharing of our stories that can start to understand each other. When we take the time to discover the story beside us – at work, on public transport, in line at the supermarket – and open our hearts and arms to everyone including people who came to our shores seeking safety and basic dignity, then together we build a more inclusive, empowered and progressive community for us all.

Everyone should be afforded the choice and the chance to participate in our community and as a nation we should always stand with those in pursuit of safety and dignity and support them to thrive and realise their dreams. But people seeking asylum in Australia have to be almost superhuman and beyond resilient just to survive here in Australia because of Government policies that were created to punish people rather than protect them and uphold their basic human rights.

We all have a role to play in making Australia a more welcoming place for people seeking safety here. It’s all of our responsibility to do better. To be better. To create the kind of Australia that we want for our children – for everyone’s children. That’s the kind of Australia I want to call home.

Because as a nation, what are we missing out on when we aren’t allowing people to contribute; to settle, participate, work, study and volunteer in our communities? What is this costing us in our compassion? What is this costing us in our multicultural fabric? How many talented and deserving people are waiting for an opportunity to shine and thrive?

It is my hope that you will discover the story beside you and get to know refugees and people seeking asylum; to find common ground and understanding, to show compassion to our fellow Australians and help create a more welcoming and supportive home for people seeking asylum here.

As a nation, let us speak only the language of hope and inclusion.

Together we can create a more welcoming and supportive Australia, a place we can all be proud to call home.

Sign the pledge to show you welcome refugees and people seeking asylum.

– Madeleine West

SIGN THE PLEDGE

Refugees and people seeking asylum are beside you in your community – they are your neighbours, business owners, teachers, lawyers, scientists, colleagues, young people, volunteers and friends.

Get to know their stories and stand with refugees and people seeking asylum.

YES – I welcome people seeking asylum as new Australians

4,127 of 10,000 pledges

Share the pledge to welcome people seeking asylum as new Australians

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Demonstrate your organisations commitment to welcome people seeking asylum

SIGN THE PLEDGE

YES – I welcome people seeking asylum as new Australians

4,127 of 10,000 pledges

Share the pledge to welcome people seeking asylum as new Australians

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Demonstrate your organisations commitment to welcome people seeking asylum

Messages of welcome