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

17 November 2021


Dear <<First Name>>


Join us for our last meeting this year on Wednesday
24 November @ 6pm

Join our Zoom Meeting next Wednesday using the following link:

You'll be sent a reminder email with the link on the day of our meeting.

The Minutes of our last meeting can be read at L4RNSWmin27Oct21 



We have learned this week, the shameful news that the Australian government has not granted a single humanitarian visa out of the initial 3,000 promised to Afghans fleeing the Taliban. This piece of news was reported to a Senate inquiry. 

On the 15 November last, SBS News reported that there has been an overwhelming demand for Australia’s humanitarian offer with an estimated 150,000 people now awaiting a visa outcome across 32,000 applications received by the federal government in the last three months. At its peak, the government received 10,000 applications in just one week. 


Thousands of Afghans have already arrived in Australia since the fall of Afghanistan's capital Kabul in August, but are currently residing on temporary visas.


Department of Home Affairs first assistant secretary David Wilden said none of the program's permanent humanitarian spots had been issued.


“We haven’t granted protection visas to anyone who's just arrived, we are not at that point yet,” he told the hearing.


Immigration 'character test' bill to strengthen visa-cancellation powers


Last month we reported that the Senate blocked the visa cancellation bill called the Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill, after there was an ‘overwhelming rejection’ of the proposed legislation. Concerns had been raised in submissions focused on the ‘significant implications’ for migrants who face deportation or indefinite detention due to the cancellation of their visas, which would be more difficult for individuals to challenge under the new legislation. 

We wrote to Senator Keneally requesting details of what amendments would have made this Bill acceptable to Labor.

Kristina sent us the following email yesterday, together with two letters she had sent to the government about this proposed Bill.  The first dated 17 September 2019 was sent to the then Minister for Immigration David Coleman while the second letter dated 12 October 2021 was sent to the current Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke.


Dear Nizza,

Thank you for your letter regarding the defeat of the Strengthening the Character Test Bill in the Senate.
As you are aware, Labor had three main objections to the Bill in its original form. I first wrote to the Government on 17 September 2019 to outline the changes necessary to the Bill in order to secure Labor’s support. I then wrote again to the Government on 12 October 2021. For your information, I am attaching the letters here.
In addition to these three areas of concern, Labor also sought to use the negotiations to secure additional support for women and children on temporary visas who are the victims of domestic violence.
In just a few hours, Minister Hawke went from a good faith negotiation on these matters to cancelling our agreement to work together.  The Morrison-Joyce Government progressed the Bill in the Senate the next day and Labor voted against the Bill.   As sufficient Senate cross-bench members also voted against the Bill, it was defeated.
Kind regards
Kristina Keneally
Deputy Labor Leader in the Senate
Shadow Minister for Home Affairs
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
Senator for New South Wales

The links to the two letters sent by Senator Keneally to the two Immigration Ministers follow:



Local Government Election

Our own L4R NSW Snr Vice-President Sabrin Farooqui is standing as a Labor Party endorsed candidate in the forthcoming local government election.  She wishes to represent the diverse community in the Cumberland local government area in her Regents Park Ward.

Sabrin has made the following appeal:

Our community has faced undeniable challenges for the last couple of years. These were challenges that were experienced by each of us very differently, especially in isolation. Now that the lockdown is coming to an end and the state is re-opening, it's time for us to start fresh as a safer and stronger community. 

I will be supporting our community as your representative of the NSW Labor Party in the upcoming Local Government Election which takes place on Saturday 4 December, 2021.  Please support me by donating for the Cumberland Local Government Campaign (Regents Park Ward) by clicking on the link below.
About myself
I am an advocate for human rights, social justice and cultural diversity. I came to Australia from Bangladesh 18 years back as an international student and completed PhD in Education from the University of Sydney. I have worked for private and public sectors, in higher education, research and policy.

As a Founding Member and the current President of CULTURAL DIVERSITY NETWORK INC. (CDNI), I help to deal with inequality and attacks on the human rights of people with different creeds and skin colours. Over the years, I have taken on a number of roles involving migrants and refugees who are vulnerable and in need, including for women who suffer violence here and abroad. My vision is to facilitate a harmonious, multicultural Australia where all immigrants can be recognised as valuable contributors to the community and the economy.

For further details of my work, please check

We wish all those L4R members who are standing as candidates in the local government election, well.


Seeking Asylum - Panel with contributions of lived experience of seeking asylum -  Thursday 2 December
- On Zoom


In their own voices, contributors share how they came to be in Australia, and explore diverse aspects of their lives: growing up in a refugee camp, studying for a PhD, changing attitudes through soccer, being a Muslim in a small country town, campaigning against racism, surviving detention, holding onto culture, dreaming of being reunited with family. There are stories of love, pain, injustice, achievement and everything in between.


This is an event hosted by Gleebooks, organised by the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre.

The link is:


Kind regards

Nizza Siano
Secretary L4R NSW














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