15 May 2019
Dear <<First Name>>
L4R will meet at 6pm next Wednesday 22 May at Unions NSW (Labor Council) Training Room 1, 377 Sussex St Sydney (near cnr Goulburn St).
PLEASE NOTE THE LOCATION OF OUR MEETING.
If you experience an access problem when you arrive, please call me on my mobile 0404 532 249.
The Minutes of our previous meeting can be viewed at
You will note when you read the minutes of our last meeting, that members decided we should write to the Shadow Minister for Immigration, Shayne Neumann (with copies to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong) about the Rohingya crisis and the plight of these refugees in relation to Australia's intake policy. Our letter can be viewed at L4RletterRohingya6Apr19
Status Resolution Support Services Payment (SRSS)
A second letter was sent to Shayne Neumann, (with copies to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek), re the Status Resolution Support Services Payment (SRSS) and the changes made by this government, which is adversely impacting on refugees and people seeking asylum and which we've asked Labor to reverse L4RletterSRSS11May19
An article about the SRSS appeared in the latest publication of the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law dated 6 May 2019.
The following is a short extract of the article which sets out the positions of the three major parties re the SRSS.
“A group of local councils has collaborated to produce a scorecard ranking the major parties on their level of support for people in the community seeking asylum. The scorecard will be distributed through councils supporting the ‘Back Your Neighbour’ campaign, ahead of the federal election on 18 May. This follows recent reductions in income support under the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) program.
The Minister for Immigration, David Coleman, has indicated that cuts in these services will continue if the Liberal-National Coalition is re-elected, while Shadow Immigration Minister Shayne Neumann has pledged to restore the funding and undertake a review of the SRSS program if Labor is elected, and Greens spokesperson Nick McKim is advocating for expanded support for asylum seekers in the community.”
This is positive news for people in Australia seeking asylum if Labor wins.
As I write this newsletter, I have no idea whether Labor will be victorious at the election on the 18 May. I can but only hope that voters will see through the dishonest electioneering tactics used by the Coalition government and the scare campaign it has run. The lack of any substance in this government's policies just offers Australians more of the same old, tired arguments. Instead of inspiring confidence, it paints a truly depressing picture of the future on so many levels.
I sincerely hope that we will be celebrating a Labor victory when Labor for Refugees meets for our usual monthly meeting next Wednesday evening.
However, irrelevant of whether Labor wins or not, we still have a job to do and that is to ensure that we keep on advocating on behalf of and fighting for the decent treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum. Even if the world picture of so many people fleeing persecution seems grim, we can still do our bit as Australians to ensure that we lead by example in our region, with compassionate and progressive refugee policies.
Some of the reforms we'd like to see, would mean that Australia would empty its offshore processing centres on Manus and Nauru and close them once and for all (L4R policy). It means transferring those detainees to Australia for on-shore processing and while this is happening, have them live in community-run reception centres (L4R policy). It means providing them with government funded legal advice, appropriate English language tuition, transparent assessment and review of protection claims which must be independent and free from any political or diplomatic interference (ALP policy supported by L4R) . The ALP has stated in its refugee policy that as soon as the reasons for mandatory detention have ceased, every effort must be made to remove asylum seekers from immigration detention centres through community detention or the granting of bridging visas with work rights. They will also be provided with means-tested access to migration assistance, along with access to appropriate social services while their applications are being assessed.
We have a number of good ALP refugee policies to work with and we'll continue building on them to improve them. Let's hope we get the opportunity to do so when Labor forms government at the end of this week.
Wishing you all the best of luck in this election campaign.
Secretary L4R NSW