Former Liberal Party leader John Hewson will be one of the guest speakers at a Wollongong rally supporting refugees.
The rally, organised by the Refugee Action Collective Illawarra (RACI), will be held at Wollongong's Crown Street Mall amphitheatre from 12pm on Saturday, June 26.
Hewson will join other critics of the current government's refugee policies in speaking at the rally, including Wollongong Greens Councillor Mithra Cox, and a refugee representative from the Refugee Council of Australia.
Refugee rights have featured heavily in Australian news in the last few weeks. The Murugappan family from Biloela have been moved to community detention in Perth from the offshore processing facility of Christmas Island.
This move comes after dozens of refugees from PNG and Manus were released into the community from hotels in Melbourne and Kangaroo Point.
RACI member Stephen Spencer, who will MC the rally, said it was great to see such a diversity of speakers.
"The diversity of speakers, including a former leader of the Liberal Party, illustrates the wide community support there is for our demands, which include an end to offshore detention, bringing refugees to Australia, acceptance of the New Zealand offer, safety net income support while claims are assessed, and permanent protection visas," Spencer said.
The rally is one of two events RACI is holding this week to mark Refugee Week (June 20-26).
The first is a screening of the movie Journey Beyond Fear, which will take place at Gala Cinemas in Warrawong on Thursday, June 24 from 6pm.
Filmed by Robyn Hugan over seven years, the film follows a teenage girl and her refugee family in Malaysia as they wait for and eventually achieve resettlement in Australia.
RACI spokesperson Dylon Tomasi said the movie could be the story of any family applying for resettlement in Australia.
"It's a glaring look into the difficulties, punitive wait times, and arbitrary rejections and prejudices against asylum seekers," he said.
"Now that more refugees are being released into the community there needs to be a concerted focus on ensuring they get the welfare, healthcare, education and pathways to citizenship they deserve."
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