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L4R newsletter - keeping you informed and up to date on our current issues and challenges.
Labor for Refugees New South Wales

4 April 2021

 

Dear <<First Name>>

How did we do at conference?

The online National Conference took place last week on the 30/31 March 2021.

L4R submitted a resolution to the Draft Platform. The link to our L4R resolution with our explanatory notes is L4RAmdtALPNatPlat2021

A number of ALP branches supported us and carried this resolution at their branch meetings.  We thank members from those branches for their support.  

 

Getting back to the National Conference, last Thursday, Labor for Refugees (L4R) held a one hour Zoom meeting with the Shadow Minister for Immigration, Senator Kristina Keneally.  The purpose was to establish whether our L4R resolution would be accepted by Kristina and the Party's leadership.

Our introductory paragraph, asking for a positive and compassionate approach by a Labor Government to the treatment of refugees, was welcomed by Kristina. However, the four dot points which followed were rejected,  in particular, the first dot point which urged the end of offshore detention.

It was clear that Labor's leadership did not wish to engage in any controversial debate at conference, as that would allow the Coalition to use this issue to wedge Labor and deflect from the Coalition's current poor performance.  Kristina stated that until Labor forms government, nothing will change and that after Labor wins the election and Labor's refugee policies have resulted in positive outcomes, Kristina would welcome an approach by L4R to end the offshore processing regime.


However, we made it clear that our members expected some gains to be made for refugees at this conference and that we could not withdraw our resolution unless the Party was prepared to come up with amendments that would benefit refugees and were acceptable to both parties.

Our negotiations continued well into the weekend and by Sunday evening, we had gone from a position of Labor rejecting all our points, to an agreed set of amendments to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th points of our original resolution.

The agreed changes to Labor's Platform follow.

Our introductory paragraph appears in the form of a resolution and the three amendments that follow, represent the agreed changes to our original three points.  The new words are underlined.

 

RESOLUTION

Labor’s policy should be framed to provide a positive and compassionate approach by a Labor Government to the treatment of refugees, rather than a reaction to the punitive and cruel approach of the Coalition Government. Refugees and those seeking asylum in Australia are to be welcomed under a Labor Government as assets who enhance this nation and our economy and provide positive contribution to our strong multicultural society.

AMENDMENTS

Page 59, Paragraph 37:
Australian citizenship is a crucial part of recognising and encouraging participation in the Australian community. Labor will continue to encourage all permanent residents to become Australian citizens. Labor will remove unnecessary and unintended barriers to citizenship, providing a clear and efficient pathway to citizenship, particularly for vulnerable groups of migrants and permanent protection visa holders and prioritise the processing of applications by families, partners and children to ensure families are kept together.

Page 107, Paragraph 11:
Labor believes protection claims made in Australia should be assessed and reviewed on the individual merits with procedural fairness ensuring our international human rights obligations are met. Accordingly:

  • The assessment and review of protection claims will be underpinned by robust, efficient and transparent processes that ensure fair and consistent outcomes, including access to review and independent advice;

  • The assessment and review of protection claims of specific lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer asylum seekers will be underpinned by appropriate and relevant assessment tools and processes that reflect cultural experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer community;

  • The assessment and review of protection claims must be independent and free from any political or diplomatic interference;

  • The processing of protection claims must be streamlined to enhance the quality of decision making, to provide more efficient pathways for prompt resolution of visa status and to alleviate the courts’ immigration case-load burden; and

  • The Stone Review process will be maintained as an important mechanism for ensuring the fairness of Australia’s security assessment system; and

  • Labor will create an independent Refugee Review Tribunal and abolish the Immigration Assessment Authority. The Tribunal will allow for procedurally fair, simple, affordable and accessible processes and procedures, including in relation to adverse credibility findings, for the review of refugee related decisions.

Page 110, Paragraph 10:
10. Labor’s humane and risk-based immigration detention policies and practices will be guided by key immigration detention principles, namely:

  • Detention that is indefinite or otherwise arbitrary is not acceptable and the length and conditions of detention, including the appropriateness of both the accommodation and the services provided, will be subject to regular review;

  • Detention will occur in a Government-run immigration detention centre, appropriately located close to services and relevant support and is only to be used as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time;

  • People in detention will be treated fairly and reasonably within the law;

  • People in detention will be provided an appropriate standard of care including the provision of health, mental health and education services a standard consistent with that afforded to the Australian community; and

  • Conditions of detention will ensure the inherent dignity and safety of the human person
     

Agreeing to withdraw our controversial first point about the offshore processing regime, was an agonising decision for L4R to make.  We understand that our members want offshore processing to end as much as we do.  However, after holding discussions with Labor's factional leaders, we did the sums and established that we would not have the numbers on the floor of conference to support our resolution in its entirety.   We therefore made a judgement call, that Labor Party delegates did not have the appetite to provide the Coalition with a weapon to use against Labor.
Under these circumstances, we believe we ended up with the best outcome.

Nothing will change for refugees until Labor forms government and that's what we need to ensure happens at the next election.

 

Next L4R Meeting - Wednesday 28 April

Our next meeting will take place by Zoom on Wednesday 28 April at 6pm.

Please join us for April's Zoom meeting

Our Zoom link is:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89353261872?pwd=MjY2U3l0aHpQL2pkWXduemtwUDRTZz09

A reminder email with the Zoom link will be sent to you on the day of our meeting,

The Minutes of our last meeting can be accessed at L4RNSWmin24Mar21  Please bring a copy of these minutes with you to our Zoom meeting.

 

Appeal for donations

Thanks to those members who have made donations to Labor for Refugees.  Your support is truly appreciated.
 

Palm Sunday Rally

Labor for Refugees endorsed the Palm Sunday Rally which took place on Sunday 28 March last @ 2pm at Belmore Park.
Our Labor for Refugees banner was proudly carried by a number of our members.


Can you help refugees released from detention?

At our last meeting, one of our active L4R members Jill Horton, reported that she recently returned from Sydney after visiting 15 newly released refugees.  They had been transferred to Villawood from Nauru before being released and are now on Bridging Visas E.   Jill reported on the unsatisfactory conditions facing them and their need for support. They have been allocated Case Managers by the federal government and each given a one-off allowance of $307.  After that, they are on their own. Jill appealed for funds but also for rooms for them to live as they have no credit ratings so are unable to rent rooms.  Another way to support them is by offering them friendship.

If you can help in any way, please let me know and I’ll pass on your contact details to Jill.


Kind regards

Nizza Siano
Secretary L4R NSW
email:  contact@labor4refugees.com

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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