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Important step forward at National Conference as ALP recommits to rights for people seeking asylum

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Media Release

The Australian Labor Party (ALP) National Conference passed a series of amendments to the National Platform today, which further commits the Albanese Government to ensure the rights of people seeking asylum and refugees.

Following an event at the Conference hosted by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) on the need for work rights, study rights and the right to mainstream social support for people seeking asylum, the conference passed two meaningful changes to the platform on this issue.

Firstly, the ALP committed to providing not just work rights, but also study rights to people while their protection claim is being processed; secondly, it strengthened the policy concerning mainstream social support.

Further positive changes include: the recommitment to abolish Temporary Protection Visas and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas; the appointment of a Special Envoy for Refugee and Asylum Seeker Issues; enshrining the ‘90 day rule’ into law, which institutes a 3 months deadline for the assessment of refugee applications, and initiating a parliamentary inquiry into immigration detention.

These are welcome and important policies that when implemented will improve the community and lives of people seeking asylum.

You can read ASRC’s submission to the ALP Draft National Convention here.

Ogy Simic, Director of Advocacy at ASRC said: “Today is an important day of progress with the ALP not just recommitting to their platform but making meaningful commitments that when implemented will make a difference in people’s lives.

“We now need the Albanese Government to action these commitments so they are realised for the families and individuals seeking asylum in urgent need of these rights and further protections.”

Sajeeda Saama, Community Organiser at ASRC said: “Policies can either give people life or take it away from them. I have lost my cousin to the hands of the current policy framework just last month, when he gave up hope after years of waiting. I want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to someone else. Today’s changes are a vital step in the right direction to give people hope and ensure the dignity of thousands of human lives.

Paul Schmidt, Coordinator of the ASRA network of service providers in Queensland, said: These changes make plain sense. We need a safety not for people seeking asylum to reduce the impact on their mental health, the reliance on charities and to treat people with dignity.

Emma, a refugee who is waiting for her protection claim to be assessed for more than seven years, said: “As a single parent precluded from mainstream services I have found it impossible to rebuild my life in Australia. I have never been able to have a community because I’m forced to move from place to place depending on what work I can find, which is even more difficult now given the cost of living crisis. The ALPs policies are a step in the right direction but the Labor Government now needs to implement these policies so that people like me and my son can live in safety.


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  1. Harry Lime

    All well and good,a lot of good intentions,but there’s far too much traffic in the slow lane.After ten years of shit and inertia from Boofhead Dutton’s mob,action is needed,like yesterday.The country needs a lot more than a three day barn dance of self congratulations.Get serious about Climate Change, or everything else is meaningless.

  2. leefe

    Policy is all very well, but it’s action that matters.

  3. paul walter

    So much needs to be done. AUKUS plus tax cuts for the rich is getting near to 3/4 of a trillion dollars when so much else needs to be fixed first.

  4. paul walter

    Harry Lime, it is true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  5. Andrew Smith

    Well if they can normalise rights for asylum seekers of refuge, good.

    Further, maybe cauterise ALP’s own nativist instincts which helped formulate hostile offshore policies i.e. Keating government’s Immigration Minister Gerry Hand and bipartisan policy (of all the policies for ALP & LNP to agree on?), one guesses from some imported US influence too, advisors and others in the ALP

  6. Clakka

    Whilst under difficult geopolitical and economic circumstances, Labor has consulted, adjusted funded and implemented its policies better than any other government I can recall. And far better than any of the divisive LNP governments over the last 25 years. There is a huge and urgent international pivot going on in an attempt to attend to global instabilities, whilst also bringing on the vast and complex reforms needed to fund, facilitate and action the massive industrial and energy system changes over many decades to address climate change abatement and reduction in atmospheric carbon and methane, all which require international and technical coordination and cannot be achieved with a snap of the fingers or wave of the wand. The outcomes from this week’s National Cabinet and 49th National Conference are excellent steps under strong leadership, given various matters of contention and urgency and the variety of views.

    It also seems more than ever, that proper researched and objective ethical journalism, commentary and news and opinion promulgation has degraded to a sensation driven click-bait of anything goes, post-truth misdirection in a bloodsport of cynicism and snark as a main underpinning of the demise of the democratic project.

    Many important steps in reforms are constantly cast aside. For example, one may try downloading and reading Labor’s new International Development Policy

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