Bishop Long urged Australians to reject the "cruel and unnecessary measures" of banning the refugees from applying for visas. He asked political leaders to "resist this latest mean-spirited move against asylum seekers and to reclaim the reputation of a decent, humane and generous country."
"It is the kind of country that refugees like myself are indebted to and proud to call home," he said.
"We must find a more just, humane and effective way in dealing with the complex issues of seeking asylum and refugee protection."
On Manus Island, asylum seekers appear to suffer medical neglect, wasting and severe ill health, the Australian Medical Association has told a Senate inquiry.
While the association said the medical accounts it received could not be independently verified, it accused Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection authorities of failing to respond to its inquiries in a timely and comprehensive way, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Health workers had until recently been under legal sanctions that barred them from speaking about conditions on Manus Island. The medical association's president Dr. Michael Gannon said there was an "inappropriate degree of secrecy" about the department's attitude to asylum seeker patients, as well as "hyperbole from refugee advocates."
"It's actually very hard to get accurate clinical information," Dr. Gannon said.
There are presently negotiations underway to resettle the refugees, possibly in Canada and the United States.