Refugee and migration policy amendments

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Below are some proposed amendments to Socialist Alliance's policy on refugees. The changes are in bold, with the additions in square brackets, and the deletions crossed out.

Socialist Alliance policy: Refugees and Migration

  1. End the Liberal and Labor bipartisan policy of keeping refugees out of Australia [through offshore processing] under the guise of attacking “people smuggling” and “border security”. Ending this policy would include the following measures:
    1. Abolish the concept of a “safe third country” which is used to screen out those who would otherwise be assessed as refugees;
    2. Return Christmas Island, Ashmore and Cartier islands and Cocos (Keeling) islands to Australia's migration zone, [thus enabling asylum seekers arriving on these Australian territories to have the same rights as asylum seekers who arrive on the Australian mainland;]
    3. Immediately resettle all UNHCR-assessed refugees stranded in Indonesia and Malaysia, neither of which is a signatory to the UN refugee convention;
    4. End the deals with the Indonesian, Malaysian and Sri Lankan governments to stop refugees coming to Australia under the guise of “stopping people smuggling”. [End the practice of giving financial aid to the Sri Lankan navy to stop Tamil asylum seekers leaving Sri Lanka.]
    5. [Abolish the legislation that criminalises people smuggling.]
  2. End the policy of mandatory detention, close all detention centres and free all asylum seekers imprisoned within them. Allow asylum seekers to live in the community while their claims are being processed.
  3. [End the discredited practice of using wrist x-rays to determine the age of young asylum seekers]
  4. Establish a category of complementary protection for those not found to be refugees under the UNHCR definition, but who face persecution if they were to be returned to the country they fled from.
  5. End all deportations of asylum seekers
  6. Immediately restore the annual refugee resettlement quota to at least its pre-1990s level of 20,000. [End the system of quotas for accepting asylum seekers and instead accept all asylum seekers who are found to be refugees.]
  7. [Institute a fairer, transparent and more publicly accountable system of assessing claims for asylum so that situations where asylum seekers from the same family and the same situation get different outcomes depending on which migration contractor assesses their claim. Ensure that assessors are given more accurate country information on which to base assessments.]
  8. [End the system where asylum seekers who are found to be genuine refugees and cannot be returned to their countries of origin, can be rejected on security grounds with ASIO not revealing why they have been deemed to be a security threat. Asylum seekers who are rejected on security grounds must be provided with the information on which they have been judged a security threat in order that they can appeal the decision.
  9. [Stateless asylum seekers must be granted refugee status rather than remaining in mandatory detention.]
  10. Recognise as grounds for refugee status gay and lesbian discrimination, discrimination against trans people and intersex people and violence against women, where the government in question condones or permits it.
  11. Institute a program for accepting climate refugees, especially from countries in the Asia Pacific region, and that this program not results in any reduction in the number of humanitarian refugees.
  12. Expand the definition of refugee to include people fleeing economic hardship e.g., where Australian multinationals have destroyed the environment that people depend on for their economic livelihood.
  13. No biometric testing of asylum seekers
  14. Establish contact with asylum seekers who have been deported by previous governments to assess whether they are still at risk and in need of asylum
  15. Abolish the Refugee Review Tribunal; replace with a fully independent merits review tribunal for refugees to appeal against adverse decisions.
  16. Restore access to all levels of judicial appeal; allow adverse decisions to be appealed on matters of substance as well as matters of law.
  17. Extend and ensure adequate funding for specialist services for settlement, including assistance with recognition of skills
  18. Equal access for asylum seekers to the full range of social security, health, housing, transport, education and employment services as other Australians. Access to post-trauma counselling for asylum seekers15. Free and widely-available English classes for all migrants and refugees
  19. Abolish the pro-business points system which favours skilled and wealthy migrants.
  20. Abolish the requirement for sponsors to pay an up-front bond.
  21. Abolish the two-year waiting period for new migrants to access social security payments.
  22. End unequal treatment for gay men, lesbians, trans people and intersex people in immigration; recognition of same-sex relationships.
  23. Withdraw the requirement to pass a health check-up in order to get a visa.
  24. Give preference to places for migrants from poor countries, especially countries in the Asia Pacific region.
  25. Abolish all family reunion waiting lists and remove the quota restriction so that partners, siblings, parents and extended families can be reunited in Australia if they choose. End deportations that are likely to result in families being split up.
  26. Ensure that no family unit is forcibly separated by Australian immigration assessment processes.
  27. End policy of deporting permanent residents who have committed a crime after serving their sentence.
  28. Abolish the citizenship test.
  29. Abolish the 457 visas and allow workers who come to Australia temporarily or permanently to have the full rights of citizenship.
  30. End practice where the immigration department automatically rejects the majority of visitor visa applications from people in Third World countries.