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A Platform for Change

The theme for this year’s conference is the refugee sector’s ‘Platform for Change’ – our call for five key changes to Australian refugee policy. This is what we want to see in Australia, and this is what we will work together to achieve.

End offshore processing

What we want:The people we have sent to Nauru and Manus Island should be brought to Australia immediately. We should end our policies of deterrence and treat people as required by the Refugee Convention.

This includes banning offshore processing, and ending the ‘turning back’ of people on boats. Instead, we should process people’s refugee claims in Australia, and cooperate with our neighbours to save the lives of those seeking safety.

Treat people seeking asylum fairly

What we want: People seeking asylum in Australia should be treated humanely, and their claims for protection fairly determined no matter how they came to Australia.

This includes appropriate access to supports and services, and government-funded legal advice, a fair and independent review of their claims according to the definition of refugee in the Refugee Convention, and permanent protection for those we recognise as refugees. Those who have been unfairly refused protection should have their claims reassessed fairly, and we should repeal the laws that allow the government to return people to persecution.

End mandatory indefinite detention

What we want: We should ban mandatory, indefinite immigration detention. We should set time limits for detention and ban the detention of children, set out rules to ensure people are detained only as a last resort, and that any detention is regularly and independently reviewed.

Do more to protect refugees in the world

What we want: We can and should accept more refugees, restoring our Refugee and Humanitarian Program immediately to 20,000 places and then increasing it to between 27,000 and 30,000 places annually within three years, with extra space for emergencies. We should increase resettlement from Africa and for the Rohingya,

We should also establish other ways for protecting people beyond our Refugee and Humanitarian Program. This should include:

  • a new program within our Migration Program to allow refugees in Australia to reunite with their family
  • a better and larger community sponsorship program
  • a pilot program for children at risk, and
  • other pathways to protection within our Migration Program.

Work better with our neighbours

What we want: Our government should work to support our neighbours to find the best answers available for people displaced by conflict and persecution. We use our diplomacy, aid and refugee resettlement program to address the causes of displacement, help countries rebuilt after conflict, and to address the urgent needs of refugees in their communities.

Read the full statement and find out more here