A grandmotherly spirit arrived at parliament on Wednesday.
Grandmothers against the Detention of Refugee Children parked themselves on Parliament House lawn in the morning, before meeting with the Greens, opposition and independent MPs.
But it was the hullabaloo in the Senate and House of Representatives that made the biggest impression on Ballarat grandmother Cath McDonald.
“We all came out of the Senate saying ‘that was terrible’,” she said.
“If that was my grandchild I would smack their bottom.”
The 200-strong purple-clad group travelled to Canberra to push for the government to not send 267 asylum seekers back to Nauru.
The families and children had come to Australia from the tiny island nation for medical treatment.
Ms McDonald said the group had a diverse political background but was able to conectrate on the children currently in community detention or undergoing treatment.
“Our focus is on the children. Politicians may say the big picture is this, the big picture is that, but we’re grandmothers, we focus on humanity, on the children,” she said.
Ms McDonald said nine of the 17 Ballarat grandmothers met with Ballarat MP Catherine King as well on Wednesday.
She said that while Ms King’s party platform meant she supported offshore processing, it was a productive meeting.
The grandmothers will road trip home on Thursday.