Australia’s response to asylum seekers continues to generate heated debate and a wide range of views. When the decision to recommence regional offshore processing was announced, The Salvation Army offered to provide welfare and support services to the asylum seekers transferred to Nauru and Manus Island, despite its public opposition to this policy. This decision has been criticised by some commentators such as Bruce Haigh (“Waiting for Salvation in a Nauru detention centre“, December 14) but it has always been the mission of The Salvation Army to serve in places where people are suffering or in distress.
Haigh praises The Salvation Army for its presence and support of Australian troops during the war, yet fails to recognise that it is the same passion and motivation that leads our organisation to work with asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. Where there is suffering you will find The Salvation Army, whether it is caused by a cyclone, war, poverty, illness or otherwise.