It's been a troubling week for refugees and asylum seekers in offshore detention.
On Sunday, the Federal LNP Government announced that asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island would be banned for life from entering Australia. And this is despite the government having already established that 72% of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island are in fact genuine refugees.
Genuine refugees who want nothing else but to reach safety.
The law would be now be applied to anyone who had attempted to reach Australia by boat from mid-2013, meaning it would apply retrospectively to nearly 1300 people currently in offshore detention on both Nauru and Manus.
Many people on the islands have already experienced violence, rape and persecution - both in their countries of origins and since being detained in offshore detention.
But that's not all that's happened in the past few days.
In a dazzling display of zero tact or humanity, the Federal Government has actually begun buying media space on Facebook that is geographically targeted to people in conflict zones, warning potential asylum seekers that they will never set foot in Australia if they flee by boat.
The law does not apply to minors, however their omission from the new policy is essentially window dressing. Most children on Nauru arrived with their parents, to whom the law certainly does apply.
This is a message we don't believe Australia should be telling asylum seekers and genuine refugees who are fleeing for their lives from war, genocide and persecution, particularly when both refugee policy and Australia's inaction on settling refugees remains woeful and few other solutions have been offered.
And what is AWSWN doing whilst our politicians use some of the world's most vulnerable people as a political football?
Aside from our continuous advocacy, speaking up and writing, over the next few months and into the new year we'll be lobbying and fighting for the women and children detained on Nauru, and the entire system of offshore detention.
A year has passed since we launched our founding petition, but as the situation remains unchanged, our purpose remains clear - to influence Australia's immigration policies and bring those fleeing persecution to safety.
To reach more Australians, we've recently developed a new website which we'll be populating with information as it breaks or as it is told to us. And we now have over 36,000 supporters, many of them Australian, who back our cause. This is a huge success given we are a very specific, single-issue campaign.
As small a task as it may sound, keep speaking up. As Australians, we're lucky to be able to speak out against what we view as injustices and unfair policies. We should be making use of this privilege to make the world a better place for everyone. Speaking out against the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees not only gives voice to those who have been silenced, but is a clear message to our representatives that this is not the Australia we want.
Australia's asylum seeker and refugee practises will only continue until our policy makers realise the majority of Australians find it unacceptable, and frankly, very un-Australian.
Simply, people's lives should never be used as a political football.
You can join us by visiting: www.awswn.org
For the women and children on Nauru - LL
Luisa Low is the publicist and co-founder of Australian Women Without Borders which operates Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru. You can contact her at email@example.com