Yesterday (Thursday) The Courier-Mail reported that Kelly Purnell, an activist involved in protests at Parliament House this week, worked with Indooroopilly Uniting Church in Brisbane. We assisted Indooroopilly to clarify that Ms Purnell is not an employee or member of Indooroopilly Uniting Church but a volunteer with the church’s visa form-filling clinic that assists asylum seekers applying for visas.
Today’s Courier-Mail headline “Church rejects activist” is a deliberately provocative misinterpretation. As a result, I have sent the following statement to The Courier-Mail:
“While Ms Purnell does not work for Indooroopilly Uniting Church we thank her for her volunteer involvement in Indooroopilly’s visa form-filling clinic,” says Rev Baker.
“I commend the important work that Indooroopilly Uniting Church does with refugees and asylum seekers.
“Over the past two years more than 400 asylum seekers have been helped by around 100 volunteers, many of them not Uniting Church members, through Indooroopilly Uniting Church’s form-filling clinic.
“We do not condone the actions of protesters at Canberra’s Parliament House this week but the Uniting Church in Queensland is committed to assisting vulnerable people and has spoken out against the government’s treatment of asylum seekers.”
If you receive any request from the media for statements from the Uniting Church please direct them to Mardi Lumsden, Uniting Communications director.