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Vote for fair refugee policies in 2022 federal election

March 02, 2022

As you consider who you will vote for at the coming federal election, consider asking your local candidate for their position on these important issues. Let them know you are part of a community of people who want fair policies for refugees and people seeking asylum. 

Save our handy guide as a reminder of three of the big refugee issues facing Australia right now. Print some copies for your wallet or save to your camera roll so you’ll be prepared!

Use the guide to ask your local candidate questions: – at a local ‘town hall’ meeting – when they knock on your door and ask you to vote for them – on their social media pages in the comments section or via direct message – in your local community centre, shops or school, where they’ll be shaking hands – in a letter or email to their local electorate office.

A closeup image of a man putting a vote in a ballot box.

Let your local candidates know that you’ll be voting in their electorate and you care about refugee-friendly policies and fair process. Here’s a quick guide to some of the big issues.

  1. Ask: Do you support an immediate expansion of our annual refugee humanitarian visa intake?

What to listen for: The answer, ‘yes!’

Australia’s current number of people offered humanitarian visas is the lowest it has been for 45 years. The current government has promised extra places for people from Afghanistan and Ukraine, but six months later the details are unclear and the amount is still insufficient. Making promises without reinstating a reasonable level of humanitarian visas, is just pushing some out to make room for others.

There are many places in the world which have ongoing humanitarian crises and people from those places also need support. The ASC currently supports people from 92 countries.

We need a humanitarian intake that better reflects the needs around the world and the compassion and welcome of most Australians. We must be able to generously respond to crises in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Myanmar and in many other locations without leaving behind people who are already seeking asylum in our country.

Read more: 

Why additional places are required for people from Afghanistan (Refugee Council of Australia)

A platform for change: Reforming Australian refugee policy (Refugee Council of Australia)

2. Ask: What is your position on on-shore and off-shore detention for people seeking asylum?

What to listen for? A substantial plan to put an end to arbitrary and indefinite detention.

It is possible for politicians to promise things they don’t plan to implement (surprising isn’t it!?). If you really want to know what your candidate’s position is, ask them to say how they or their party would end indefinite and arbitrary detention of refugees and create permanent resettlement pathways for people still in limbo offshore.

The offshore ‘processing centre’ in Nauru is still in use and there are still hundreds of people who have been detained offshore who are now either in Nauru, PNG or in Australia without any plans for their future.

We call on current and future governments to close offshore detention centres and bring all the people in Nauru and PNG to Australia to live in the Australian community while permanent resettlement plans are made. Accepting the New Zealand offer of resettlement would provide a future for many people still in hotel detention or on temporary visas in the community.

It is beyond shameful that people who have sought safety in Australia have been detained for up to ten years with no action on resettlement.

Read more:

Human rights groups call for an end to arbitrary and indefinite detention (Kaldor Centre)

Amnesty Australia’s submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration’s Inquiry into the Ending Indefinite and Arbitrary Immigration Detention Bill 2021.

3. Ask: What would you do to ensure that people seeking asylum in our community have a fair and just process and assistance to live safely? 

What to listen for: Candidates should have an understanding of the issues that face thousands of people in our community who have applied to the Australian Government for protection from persecution in their home countries.

Many of the people in our community have been waiting for more than five years in limbo with no information about the progress of their case and no government safety net when times are tough.

Policies that would actually help include:

  • the reintroduction of income support for people who cannot work
  • continual rather than irregular or no access to Medicare
  • a reasonable timeframe for their claim for protection to be processed.

Read more:

Australia’s asylum policies (Refugee Council of Australia)

Here are some tips from our friends at Amnesty International about how to communicate with politicians.

We would love to hear from you about your experiences with your local candidates. Let us know on election@asylumseekerscentre.org.au

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