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Opinion News Governance Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Mums 4 Refugees calls for a permanent end to offshore processing ahead of federal election

2 min read

Australia has finally taken up New Zealand’s offer to resettle 450 refugees over the next three years, but it’s taken nine years to get to this point and significant damage has been done during this time. In this year’s federal budget, the government also announced $666 million being dedicated over four years for an additional 16,500 humanitarian places for Afghan nationals, which is a very welcome announcement, but we cannot settle for tick-box exercises.

Australia’s resettlement program is world-class, however, its treatment of people seeking asylum is the opposite. We need to see these recent announcements as positive but small and overdue first steps towards better immigration, refugee and humanitarian programs.

We need fairer processes for claiming asylum, reform of the immigration detention system, and a greater emergency response contingency, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Myanmar, and Ukraine.

Ahead of the election, Mums 4 Refugees is calling on the federal government to address the following:

The permanent end to offshore processing

  • Urgently resolving the situation of those currently held in PNG and Nauru.
  • Closing all Australian-funded offshore detention, processing, and transit facilities.
  • Bringing all refugees and people seeking asylum to Australia while determinations are made about durable solutions.

A fair process for claiming asylum

  • Repealing the fast-track system.
  • Reinstating reference to the Refugee Convention in the Migration Act (non-refoulment obligations).
  • Repealing temporary protection and restoring permanent protection and family reunion.
  • Ensuring access to financial assistance, basic health care and work rights for all people seeking asylum.

Reform of the immigration detention system

  • Stipulating in law maximum time limits on immigration detention.
  • Codifying in law the prohibition of the detention of children.

A larger and more responsive refugee and humanitarian program

  • Establishing an Emergency Response contingency quota to provide additional capacity to respond to urgent protection needs (such as the current crises in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Myanmar, and Ukraine).

It’s time we stopped spending billions of dollars on keeping refugees and asylum seekers in detention and started respecting their human rights.


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