Immigration and Refugees

  • Raise Humanitarian Quota
  • End offshore processing
  • Resettlement Services

Australia has humanitarian and legal obligations to accept refugees and reunite families. Australian society benefits from immigration.

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. Australia's cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity should be celebrated for greatly enriching our society and economy, and this diversity is enhanced by the immigration of people to Australia.
  2. Immigration must be non-discriminatory on the grounds of nationality, ethnicity, religion, language, gender, disability, sexuality, age or socioeconomic background.
  3. Australia must enact its humanitarian and legal obligations to asylum seekers and refugees and reunite families under the international customary law and the Refugee Convention 1951 and its Protocol.
  4. Seeking asylum is a humanitarian issue rather than an issue of border security or defence, and people seeking asylum must be treated with compassion and dignity.
  5. As signatory to the Refugee Convention Australia must assess the applications of all asylum seekers who arrive in Australian territory, including territorial waters, irrespective of their mode of arrival.
  6. Australia has additional responsibilities to refugees from countries where Australian defence personnel have been deployed in conflict situations.

Aims

The Australian Greens want:

  1. A permanent migration program for Australia that prioritises family reunion and facilitates migration or resettlement to Australia within a reasonable time.
  2. The development of networks, materials and programs that increase community understanding of the causes and benefits of migration.
  3. Sufficient funding for public and community sector agencies providing migrant-specific services to deliver adequate, effective and timely support.
  4. Skilled migration programs that do not substitute for training or undermine wages and conditions in Australia.
  5. Consistent, timely and fair processes to assess the qualifications of skilled migrants permanently settling in Australia.
  6. Recognition that unaccompanied children have special needs that require a separate approach to the adult system.
  7. No family unit to be forcibly separated by Australian immigration assessment processes.
  8. Greater incentives for rural and regional distribution of refugees and immigrants using successful models for settlement.
  9. Incorporation of relevant international conventions in immigration law to ensure that there is an avenue for complaint when these rights are breached.
  10. Any appointment to tribunals to be independently made in accordance with a predefined formula of civil society representation and legal expertise.
  11. Services for new migrants and refugees that include appropriate English language classes, social security, health, legal and interpreter services, and post-trauma counselling where needed.
  12. Greatly enhanced regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific to provide safer pathways for asylum seekers, with long-term planning to accommodate people displaced by on-going conflicts and climate change.
  13. Australia to adopt a definition of environmental refugee in its assessment criteria and to work in the UN system for inclusion of a definition in the Refugee Convention.
  14. Australia to show leadership in our region by fostering international cooperation on protecting asylum seekers and refugees, founded on shared responsibility according to capacity, and by encouraging all nations to sign and ratify the Refugee Convention.
  15. Australia to adequately contribute to the funding of and work closely with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and other agencies assisting in the movement of asylum seekers, refugees and displaced people.
  16. An increase in the humanitarian quota, and offshore quotas fulfilled without reference or linkage to any onshore arrivals or other programs.
  17. Restoration of the Australian migration zone to match Australia's territory and acceptance of responsibility for assessing all asylum claims of people who seek Australia's protection within the migration zone.
  18. Asylum seekers to be fully informed of their rights on arrival and given immediate access to legal assistance.
  19. The current system of humanitarian visas (granted only by ministerial discretion) to be replaced with an open, accountable humanitarian visa assessment.
  20. Assessment of applications for asylum completed in a timely and transparent manner.
  21. The elimination of mandatory and/or indefinite detention and the abolition of offshore processing (where an asylum seeker or refugee is returned from Australian territory to another nation to be assessed) and other forms of punitive or discriminatory treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.
  22. Once initial health, security and identity checks are completed within a maximum of 30 days, asylum seekers who arrive without a valid visa to be accommodated in the community, unless otherwise ordered by a court, with periodic judicial review thereafter.
  23. All people categorised as refugees, but given negative security assessments by ASIO, to be given reasons for such assessment and the opportunity to challenge this in the appropriate forum.
  24. Asylum seekers to have work rights, and access to social security, legal representation, interpreters, health services, case management, and appropriate education for the duration of their assessment.
  25. Where an asylum seeker is not found to be owed protection, provision of fair and appropriate accommodation until they can be repatriated. Where a person is stateless, provision of accommodation in the community until they are issued with a visa or another durable solution is found.
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