Christian Porter says church leaders who led sit-in at his Ellenbrook offices were asking the Govt to break important policy

The church leaders during their peaceful sit-in at Christian Porter's office yesterday.
The church leaders during their peaceful sit-in at Christian Porter's office yesterday.

SOCIAL Services Minister Christian Porter said church leaders charged with trespass over a sit-in at his Ellenbrook office yesterday were asking the Federal Government to break an important link in a policy that has secured the nation’s borders.

The three ministers and two lay leaders called on the Member for Pearce to bring people imprisoned in offshore processing centres to Australia.

Mr Porter said on matters of immigration, the Coalition held one principle above all else.

“The only way to prevent people risking their lives to come to Australia on a people smuggling boat is to make it clear that any person that arrives as an illegal maritime arrival will never be resettled in Australia,” he said.

“What the Loves Makes a Way campaign is asking of the Government is to break down one of the important links in a chain of successful policy that has secured our borders, stopped the boats and meant that no more men, women and children are drowning at sea,” he said.

“What this group wants the Government to do would reopen the people smuggling trade, cause unlawful arrivals and result in more deaths at sea.”

Darlington-Bellevue Anglican priest Father Chris Bedding said the church leaders acted in solidarity with more than 400 men on the island refusing to leave a closed processing centre.

He said the ‘imprisoned’ men wanted the rights and freedoms afforded to them by the Refugee Convention.

The church leaders called on the Government to accept a New Zealand offer to resettle 150 people and bring the remaining group to Australia.

MORE: Police looking for man who took staff member’s bag from Black Swan Winery

MORE: Police seeking witnesses to serious crash in Connolly