Our aim is for an Australia in which asylum seekers and refugees are treated with dignity and humanity, not with punishment and cruelty. It embodies the value of fairness and generosity towards those who are vulnerable and in need of sanctuary.
The refugee debate should never be about border security or sovereign borders. Asylum seekers and refugees are not invaders to our border. They are people just like us; they are people desperately seeking protection at our doorstep.
All humanitarian refugee policy and actions must be based on DO NO HARM. That is the bottom line standard. The adoption of the five points will positively reshape the narrative that underpins public opinion on refugees and asylum seekers. It will recreate an Australia that upholds its commitment to human rights and leads the world in embracing its international obligations.
#TURNBACKTOHUMANITY FIVE POINT PLAN
- IMMEDIATE RELEASE AND SETTLEMENT FOR ALL THOSE SUFFERING AT OUR HANDS. This means immediately shutting down offshore detention centres and without delay bringing all persons seeking asylum as well as those assessed as refugees to Australia for permanent settlement, or set them free to live in safety in another country such as New Zealand or Canada.
- IMMIGRATION DETENTION SHOULD BE A LAST RESORT AND STRICTLY NO MORE THAN 30 DAYS regardless of administrative processes; the focus should be on community processing and open reception centres; independently monitored and open to the media.
- RAISE THE REFUGEE INTAKE SUBSTANTIALLY. In addition to a generous government program, allow for additional intakes in time of special crisis (as per Syrian intake), and allow for cheap and easy private sponsorship (as per Canadian model 1:1 ratio) over and above government program.
- EXPAND SAFE AND JUST PASSAGE FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS TO AUSTRALIA, WITH NO PUNISHMENT BASED ON MEANS OF ARRIVAL to include our region. Working with the UNHCR, Australia needs to provide safe alternative to people seeking asylum with fair and rapid processing of their claims in countries of transit such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Those who are successful in their claims should be brought to Australia for resettlement. There should be no discrimination against people who arrive on our shores by boat seeking asylum. We should not turn back boats containing asylum seekers.
- GIVE PERMANENT PROTECTION VISAS AND CITIZENSHIP WITH FULL RIGHTS INCLUDING FAMILY REUNION. Those applying for refugee status should have access to income support, basic health care, education and work rights. Those accepted should have the same permanent rights as other Australians. Whatever the outcome, there should be no refoulement / deportation to danger.
How you can help
Step 1. Signing the petition (below) and sharing it on social media
to raise the awareness and to get more signatures.
Step 2. Pressuring Senators and Members of Parliament
"#TurnBackToHumanity: Achieving a Just Refugee Policy for 2018" is our submission to Labor Party on refugee policy. We have sent it to all sitting Labor politicians.
On 21 Oct 2019, the Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, reintroduced a Private Member’s Bill, Refugee Protection Bill 2019, that would provide for a fairer, more sustainable, and more humane approach to asylum seekers and refugees. We fully support it and we want you to get behind it.
Please visit, call and email your MPs to quiz them on their position on asylum seeker and refugee issues, and to ask them to support Wilkie MP's Refugee Protection Bill 2019. (Here is a Sample letter to request a meeting with local MP or Senator.)
If your MP is not prepared to show compassion or to support Wilkie's Bill, please consider holding regular protests at their offices to highlight their responsibility and support for the abuse of refugees and asylum seekers.
Step 3. Tell us how you went
Send us an e-mail (to [email protected]) if you get a response from your MP or Senator, or if you want to organize a delegation to visit them, or if you want to hold a protest. We can help you get in contact with like-minded people near you.