Wollongong activists demand Sharon Bird supports asylum seekers

SIGNS SAY IT ALL: Student activists in front of the Wollongong office of Cunningham MP Sharon Bird.
SIGNS SAY IT ALL: Student activists in front of the Wollongong office of Cunningham MP Sharon Bird.

Student activists occupied Sharon Bird’s Wollongong office on Wednesday to protest against the Labor Party’s support for boat turn backs, offshore processing and mandatory detention of asylum seekers.

They targeted the Federal Member for Cunningham because they believed Ms Bird had voted previously for offshore processing and turning back the boats.

Ms Bird said she was in a meeting and did not know the protesters were visiting her office.

“I was unaware that the group were coming to my office and I already had meeting commitments,” she said.

“I regularly meet with individuals and groups on refugee issues and my staff offered the group the option of organising a meeting for them.”

Wollongong Undergraduate Student Association general representative Jack Thomson said the situation was becoming more dire on Manus and Nauru, with 11 people having already died in the camps.

The action was held in the lead up to the Illawarra Refugee Action Collective's World Refugee Week Rally on June 23 in Crown Street Mall.

“With a federal election around the corner, it is imperative that the Labor party change their inhumane refugee policy,” Thompson said.

“This is one reason why we will be protesting on June 23rd in Crown Street Mall, to end boat turn backs, bring them here, and let them stay.”