March 2022 newsletter: Federal Budget released, order election packs

March 31, 2022

We welcome the additional 16,500 visas promised for people from Afghanistan in this week’s Federal budget. The Afghan community in Australia has led a strong push for this support and we celebrate this success.

ASC supported this campaign. We thank everyone in our community who signed a petition, wrote to the minister and participated in #20kTuesday actions. The government heard your calls for compassion and generosity and we hope this is just the beginning.

Whilst the budget recognised the cost of living pressure on everyone by including some one-off payments to those on lower incomes, the government once again excluded people seeking asylum in our community from those packages.

The budget also commits the government to an investment of $1 billion on detention and compliance every year, while reducing the funds for settlement services, the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. There is no logic to cutting these programs when there will be an increase in people needing help and a changing world which requires a human rights response.

Read the Refugee Council of Australia’s round-up of all the measures that will affect refugees and people seeking asylum in the budget.

Thankfully, some certainty has been provided for Ukrainians in Australia by providing temporary visas of up to three years. With these visas people will have access to Medicare, education and the ability to work. The government should extend these basic elements for a safe life to all people in Australia who are fleeing conflict and persecution.

We do not have long to be heard in our local electorates before an election is called. I encourage you to get involved and get vocal with your local candidates on the important issues. You can be an ally for people who are unable to vote and be heard at the ballot box.

Keep reading to find out more about actions you can take for fair policies for refugees at the next election including joining us at the coming Palm Sunday Rally.

Warm regards

Frances Rush OAM
Chief Executive Officer

Order free election packs for your community

Raise your voice in your local community. Stand with people seeking asylum and refugees. You can now order free packs of stickers and flyers for your family or your community group.

Let people know you are voting for fair policies for refugees and be prepared to speak to your local candidates on the important issues.

Pre-election actions you can take

Two great events this year we are participating in:

Fair go for refugees online forum (free)
7pm, Wednesday 6 April 2022
Speakers include Craig Foster, Shabnam Safa (NRAAg), Asher Hirsch (RCOA), Abbas Nazari (author of After the Tampa) and Dr Claire Loughnan, University of Melbourne.
Register here

Sydney Palm Sunday rally
Walk alongside asylum seekers, refugees, and ASC volunteers and supporters on Sunday 10 April, at the Palm Sunday Rally for Refugees.

2pm, Sunday 10 April, Belmore Park, Haymarket (next to Central Station)
We’ll gather in the park from 1:30pm. Look for the ASC banner.

For more information

Visit from MPs Coure and Leong a chance to listen

NSW Minister of Multicultural Affairs Mark Coure and local MP Jenny Leong recently visited the Asylum Seekers Centre so they could hear from staff and people we support about the challenges faced during the previous two years. They heard about the impact of emergency financial relief available from the NSW Government during Covid. We thank them both for their interest and ongoing support.

Scholarships open the door to University

A young man supported by the Asylum Seekers Centre has kicked off his studies after winning the University of NSW’s first-ever asylum seeker scholarship. “The scholarship is a life-changing thing for me… I was really excited to get it,” he said.

Ian* arrived in Australia by himself and hopes his parents and siblings will be able to come soon. Find out about the ways a volunteer-powered ASC team is assisting students to apply for scholarships that open doors that lock them out of bright futures.

Join the ASC at a pre-election rally Recycle and support people seeking asylum