Campaign Update

Detention4Detention 2013

Throughout 2013, high school students from all over Australia joined together to takea voluntary lunchtime detention to stand in solidarity with children in immigration detention facilities in Australia. Students sent a message of hope to children in detention that they are not alone, and that they are welcome in our country. Students then sign the petition calling on the government to end mandatory detention for asylum seeker children. To date, there has been an estimated 8,000 students have participated in D4D. This includes Edmund Rice Network (10 schools, 3,000 students); Christian Schools through UJA  – at least 3; Mercy Schools in Victoria (8 schools); Schools in Adelaide through Elise (2 schools); Corpus Christi and Loyola. Sometimes these are whole year groups or whole school activities. We believe the estimated number is conservative as it’s based on year group participation.

Here you can find the coalition website and more action stories! 


Responding to Politicians April 2013

In April, Tessa Ganley, 2013 National Campaign Coordinator, sent a letter on behelf of the End Child Detention Australia coalition to all politicians in Australia about children in detention. There was an astounding response with Senator Dean Smith, Senator Sarah Hanson Young, Senator Ryan, Senator Boyce, Senator Gavin Marshall, Senator Jacinta Collins, Senator Laura Smyth, Senator Lee Rhiannon, Karen Andrews MP and Phillip Ruddock MP responding to our letter. 

Year 12 Student, Luke Dundon in Melbourne attended a meeting with Senator Gavin Marshall and Dominique Toop (Year 12 Student and National Chairperson 2013) and Annie Purbrick (Year 11) attended a meeting at Julie Bishop MP's office with her youth representative. 

Australia Day 2013

#KidsLikeMe #YoungAndFree

The 2013 Australia Day action, #kidslikeme #youngandfree action was a brilliant kick start for the Australian Young Christian Students into the new year. High school students from around the country wrote on their skin, or on paper, #kidslikeme #youngandfree, and took photos of themselves as a petition to end child immigration detention.

The Australian Young Christian Students' '#kidslikeme #youngandfree' was an action that derived from our national campaign, 100% Respect: Youth Refugees and Asylum Seekers 'and you thought detention was just in school'.

The campaign focuses on the deprivation of childhood that young people within immigration detention face that is contradictory of Australia's obligation to the UN Conventions of the Right of the Child. The campaign aims to change public opinion through informing the community about the conditions from which asylum seekers escape and also what they eventually meet when they arrive in Australia.

As young people in a country we believe to be affluent, the conditions that are pressed upon the vulnerable are substandard and do not reflect the compassion and equality we see as virtues of the Australian culture and Christian faith.

High school students from across the nation responded enthusiastically to the action with hundreds of photos gathered, all unique but in solidarity with the cause of raising awareness and promoting the questioning of our country's practices on such a iconic day in the Australian calendar.

The community support for the Australia Day action was supportive and positive with many students having passers by chat to them about the issue and even take a photo themselves with the #kidslikeme #youngandfree posters.

Currently the photos are being collated and put into a scrapbook album to be sent to the new Minister for Immigration, Brendan O'Connor.


Steps To Freedom December 2012 - January 2013

Steps to Freedom was a national action that was mighty exciting to see, with diocese across Australia taking walks through their cities or towns to raise awareness of children in detention. Along side the walks were petitions, which were physically represented by paper feet cut outs. Each person who signed the petition was encouraged to trace their foot and write their name on it with their local town. These paper feet were then collaborated in Perth, to be taken on the walk - taking the ‘steps’ to freedom. The walks started in December with Perth City, then to Port Pirie about the main strip, Melbourne (where the feet got lost!), Parramatta in Sydney, Townsville along the Strand and finally in Canberra through Civic where the national exec took part in January. The greatest achievement with the Steps to Freedom action was the increase in Diocesan leadership for national actions! We were very enthused to see so many new leaders step up to the challenge of planning their walk! As well as the increase in signatures for the petition and the awareness that was raised.


End Child Detention Australia Launch! September 2012

In order to lobby for the release of the children held in immigration detention facilities AYCS, Catholic Mission, UnitingJustice, Australian Catholic Religious, ACRMO, ChilOut and International Detention Coalition formed 'End Child Detention Australia'. With the youth focus the AYCS play a vital role in the actions and Tessa Ganley, Year 11 Student and National Chairperson 2012 from Port Pirie launched the campaign in Sydney. 


The Logo and Slogan

The logo and slogan for the campaign was finalised and published. The logo and slogan were designed and suggested by Year 12 Perth student Dion Alfonsi. 


The Cage Spectacle July 2012

'Why is a child in detention?' that's the question on our lips and what we wanted others to ask also. The Cage Action took place in various locations around the country in public spaces where a child was placed in a cage as a silent symbol of the children in immigration detention centres at the moment. Whilst the student was in the cage other students handed out flyers and talked to passers by about the current situation and urged them to sign the petition. 


The Campaign Leaders Kit (CLK)

At the Campaign buddie Assemble it was decided that it was important to have groups review the issue of Youth Refugees and Asylum Seekers before taking action. A national resource, the Campaign Leaders Kit, was written to help students do this. With it's distribution the CLK improved local group reviews and diocesan action and lead to the Cage Action and Steps to Freedom.


Campaign Buddie Assemble! April 2012

‘Campaign Buddy Assemble’ was a gathering where diocesan representatives came together to construct the plan for the national campaign for the rest of 2012. They pioneered the AYCS Position Paper, an important document which outlines the values and reasons by which the movement stands by in regard to Youth Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

Speak Up! Term 1 2012

During first term, AYCS began extending its network with other organisations, which saw YCS work alongside ‘End Child Detention International’ in their ‘Speak Up!’ petition, where under 18’s were encouraged to film themselves for 20 seconds with a message of hope to those in detention and the reasons why they wouldn’t want to be in their situa- tion. YCS students responded very avidly to the task with about 100 videos posted and great participation from members of the community as a result of active YCS members.

You can find the Speak Up! Action hosted by END Immigration Detention of Children here:


Australia Day 2012

For those who've come across the seas, we've boundless plains to share

The Young Christian Students movement have launched their new campaign, '100% Respect: Youth Refugees and Asylum Seekers' at their January 2012 National Conference and followed with a tremendously well supported awareness action on Australia Day to kick-start the campaign across the nation.

The Young Christian Students movement uses the Cardijnian method of 'See, Judge and Act' to empower high school student to critically analyse issues around them in light of their faith, and take action to change the situation.

Mai Mitsumori-Miller, a Perth Year 12 student, co-ordinated a thorough 'See, Judge, Act' of the issues surrounding youth refugees and asylum seekers at the National Conference in Melrose. This resulted in a direct service aim for local students to educate people in their community about the media perception of the issue, and an advocacy aim targeted at the Federal Government to uphold the UN Convention for Rights of a Child for refugees and asylum seekers under the age of eighteen.

"The 100% Respect: Youth Refugees and Asylum Seekers campaign was chosen as it was an issue that was identified as relative to many of the students throughout 2011. Refugees and asylum seekers is a major political, social and media topic in our society today, and as students the lives of people our own age was seen as an important place to begin our relationship and understanding of those fleeing their homelands."

"Students will be continually reviewing the issues throughout the two year campaign, and be equipped with the necessary skills to take action on local and national levels based on their faith," Mai said.

The Conference was attended by around 45 students from all around the country as well as by Bishop Biancinni of Geraldton, and Bishop O'Kelly of Port Pirie. Hannah Stavrou, the 16 year-old Conference Co-ordinator from Barmera, South Australia stated that "this conference gave like-minded and passionate students the chance to create great action that will transform not only themselves but their communities and the world."

The first action of the Youth Refugees and Asylum seekers campaign took place on Australia Day and was the biggest nationally co-ordinated action from the movement for very many years. Almost 1000 people from across the country attended the Facebook event 'bare skin for refugees and asylum seekers' which asked people to write 'for those that come across the seas, we've boundless plains to share' on their skin. This was a huge success, with hundreds of photos uploaded onto the 'Australian YCS' Facebook page in support of refugees and asylum seekers. These will be forwarded to politicians to bring about just policies and practises that uphold the human dignity of these young people.

The previous National Chairperson, Liam McGuire of Townsville is excited about the campaign despite finishing school in 2011.

"With all members excited about the new campaign, having their say and already taking action, we hope this is going to be the most effective campaign in our recent history."

Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne