Click here for background information on the resolution

On Thursday September 14, 2023, a public forum was held in Geelong to gain a better understanding of the situation for the up to 12,000 people who remain in limbo after their applications for asylum were rejected in the so-called “Fast Track” refugee determination process; a process which the Labor Party has stated is a flawed and unfair system.

The forum was hosted by Combined Refugee Action Group (CRAG), Bellarine for Refugees and Queenscliff Rural Australians for Refugees (Queenscliff RAR). It was attended by representatives from faith organisations, community service organisations and refugee support groups, local politicians and political party members, Union members, people seeking asylum and concerned members of the public. The attached resolution was presented and unanimously endorsed by those present.

The wording of the resolution was deliberately chosen to align with principles that have been stated by the Labor Party in its policy platforms, to leave little to no room for argument from the Government.

While an ‘amnesty’ to grant permanent visas to all those who have been living in limbo for the past 11 or 12 years would be preferable, the Government has not accepted the Kaldor Centre’s proposal to allow all people, whose applications for Temporary Protection Visas or Safe Haven Enterprise Visas were rejected, to apply for Resolution of Status (RoS) Visas. In a meeting with CRAG members, Minister Andrew Giles stated that this is due to a very small percentage of applicants being without valid claims (e.g. coming from places and people groups with no evidence of persecution).

However, since the introduction of the “Fast Track”, the Labor Party has continued to confirm its commitment to a thorough and fair review process to ensure that everyone who is found to be owed protection is granted a permanent visa. Members of Parliament and Advisors have stated, in meetings with CRAG, Bellarine for Refugees and Queenscliff RAR, that consideration for permanent residency will also be given to others based on “public interest”, and have cited examples such as people with ongoing illness or work injuries, people who have partners who are permanent residents, or people who have children who are citizens.

A review process could be as simple as going through the list of people whose cases were rejected by “Fast Track” and granting RoS Visas to anyone from a people group which the UN has stated continues to suffer persecution in their homeland. The Minister could then intervene in other cases according to “public interest”, to provide RoS for people without clear asylum claims but who now have compelling circumstances and/or strong ties to Australia. The wording in the resolution allows for both these actions.

Combined Refugee Action Group, Bellarine for Refugees and Queenscliff RAR are asking refugee advocacy groups to endorse the resolution and take the following steps:

  1. Email to advise that your group has endorsed the resolution.  (We will add your group name to the list of endorsements on our website.)
  2. Write to the following politicians to advise that you have endorsed the resolution, attaching a copy of the resolution to your email/letter:

Hon Andrew Giles MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs

PO Box 6022, House of Representatives

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Hon Clare O’Neil, MP, Minister for Home Affairs

PO Box 6022, House of Representatives

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Hon Mark Dreyfus KC, MP, Attorney-General

PO Box 6022, House of Representatives

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister

PO Box 6022, House of Representatives

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

  1. Ask your group members to send individual emails/letters to their local MP and the above politicians stating their support for the resolution and attaching a copy of it.

The resolution:

We call on the Australian government to:

  1. Commit to taking action to address the injustice caused by the discriminatory, flawed and
    unfair “Fast Track” refugee determination process;
  2. Urgently review the cases of all asylum seekers in Australia whose applications were
    rejected by Fast Track, including those who have exhausted all existing avenues of appeal
    and/or had Ministerial Intervention Requests previously refused;
  3. Ensure that this review:
    – is accessible and comprehensive,
    – carefully considers country information reports developed by the UN and other
    international human rights organisations, and
    – provides opportunity for the presentation of new information relevant to protection
  4. Cease deportations, and provide people with ongoing bridging visas while this review is being undertaken;
  5. Provide permanent residency to those found to be owed protection as a result of the review process; and;
  6. Ensure that decisions on all Ministerial Intervention Requests are made by the Immigration Minister, rather than Requests being dismissed by Home Affairs staff, and that the Minister takes into consideration factors such as family relationships, connection to community, contribution to the workforce and economy, personal losses suffered and physical and mental health support needs, granting permanent visas to people with these circumstances.

This resolution was unanimously approved by “The Fairness Yet to Come – Unfinished business in
Australia’s refugee policies” forum in Geelong on Thursday September 14, 2023.

Endorsed by:

Aireys Inlet Rural Australians for Refugees

Apollo Bay Rural Australians for Refugees

Bellarine for Refugees

Ballina Region for Refugees

Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group NSW

Borough of Queenscliffe 

Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project

Buddies Refugee Support Group, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Castlemaine Rural Australians for Refugees

Colac and District Rural Australians for Refugees

City of Greater Geelong 

Fleurieu Refugee Support Group
Gannawarra Refugee Support Group

Grandmothers for Refugees (Vic)

Hamilton Area Rural Australians for Refugees 

Macedon Ranges Rural Australians for Refugees

Mid North Coast Refugee Support Group
Pottsville Refugees Support Group

Queenscliff Rural Australians for Refugees

Queenscliff Uniting Church

Refugee Action Collective Queensland

Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

Rural Australians for Refugees Southern Highlands

Surf Coast Shire 

Tasmanian Refugee Rights Action Group

Uki Refugee Project

WA Refugee and People Seeking Asylum Network 

Wesley Asylum Seeker Welcome Place

Wesley Uniting Church, Geelong 

Yass Rural Australians for Refugees