A huge crowd of nurses, midwives, doctors, physiotherapists, social workers, operating theatre staff, medical students and more gathered outside Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick and Westmead to send a message to the Federal Government.
The group stood with arms linked and unfurled a large banner with the message ‘Detention harms children’ to highlight the plight of young kids being held in detention centres under direction of the government. Rallies were held simultaneously around the country.
Brett Holmes, General Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) joined with members at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick and said the feedback from health professionals was overwhelming that an urgent policy change was needed.
“These people are experts in all facets of children’s health and they have witnessed the serious damage being caused to the mental and physical wellbeing of young patients being held in detention both in Australia and offshore,” Mr Holmes said.
“We are talking about the next generation of some of our world’s most diverse cultures and they are not being afforded the safe, supportive environment that many of us take for granted.
“Members of ours who have worked in some of these immigration centres have witnessed extremely distressing scenes – scenes of children in desperate need of nurture and comfort – but are instead living in a torturous situation.
“There is no wonder doctors, nurses and other medical staff feel compelled to speak out, as part of their professional obligations, regardless of the fact that the government has tried to silence them under elements of its Border Force Act 2015.”
The NSWNMA joined with other professional health organisations, advocacy groups and individuals to call on the Turnbull Government to act and cease the ongoing detention of children.
In a show of unity, the NSWNMA also encouraged members of the community to sign a petition being circulated by health professionals throughout Australia.
Download the media release: Nurses protest against kids in detention