The A Just Australia campaign is managed by the Refugee Council of Australia. The core mission of the campaign is to campaign for positive changes to government policy on refugee and asylum seekers. By working together with prominent Australians and community groups and thousands of concerned individuals, A Just Australia aims to achieve just and compassionate treatment of refugees, consistent with the human rights standards which Australia has developed and endorsed.
4 December 2013
Petty politics has no place in refugee protection
The Australian Government wants to teach the ALP and the Greens a lesson for defying the Government over Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs).
But the punishment it has handed down – capping the number of permanent protection visas at 1650 – will only punish those in the greatest need of refugee protection.
The decision means no permanent protection visas will be issued until July 2014, which will push asylum seekers on to dead-end bridging visas.
When Australia ratified the Refugee Convention in 1954, it did so on the clear understanding that asylum seekers had a legal right to seek refugee protection.
At the stroke of a pen, the Government is walking away from its obligations towards asylum seekers, including those who arrive by air on valid visas.
We know that most asylum seekers that reach Australia are found to be refugees.
We know that when an Australian Government last tried to deny permanent refugee protection to asylum seekers, the great majority of people granted TPVs were never able to return home safely and were ultimately granted permanent protection.
Denying permanent visas to asylum seekers is cruel, damages the mental health of innocent people and is against the principle of fairness and generosity of spirit that drive our national identity.
If the majority of asylum seekers on bridging visas are ultimately found to be refugees, this damaging policy will only set back their settlement experience.
The Government must adopt a form of protection for asylum seekers who cannot safely return to their country of origin, which allows them to focus on making a lasting contribution to our country.
How you can help
Contact Members of Parliament in the attached spreadsheet to voice your objection to the Government’s policy to deny any chance of permanent refugee protection to asylum seekers
- How can banning permanent residency to people who are already in Australia be a deterrent given all new boat arrivals will be sent offshore?
- What financial and health support will be available to people on bridging visas?
- If the Government’s agenda is to deny permanent protection to boat arrivals, why are air arrivals being punished?
- What are Australia’s obligations towards asylum seekers under the Refugee Convention?
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection media release http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/search/cache.cgi?collection=immirss&doc=2013%2Fsm210040.xml
Refugee Council of Australia media release
ABC Radio National interview with refugee lawyer David Manne http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/government-moves-to-bridging-visas-following-tpv-abolition/5133208
Looking beyond Australia’s narrow debate about asylum seekers – speech by RCOA chief executive officer Paul Power
Australia’s obligations under the Refugee Convention
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