UnitingJustice Australia has written to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee about the proposed legislation for lifetime bans on visas for refugees who have arrived by boat since 19 July 2013. This ban serves no purpose and will separate families forever. It is in breach of Article 31 of the refugee Convention. It should not be passed.
UnitingJustice has made a submission responding to the Discussion Paper issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The submission focuses on the management, size and composition of the programme, and the need for a genuine regional protection framework.
UnitingJustice Australia has made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee about the conditions and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees at the regional processing centres in the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
In the Statement to the Nation made by the Inaugural Assembly in 1977, the Uniting Church promised to "seek the correction of injustices wherever they occur", to "work for the eradication of poverty and racism within our society and beyond" and "oppose all forms of discrimination which infringe basic rights and freedoms".
Payment of cash or other inducements by the Commonwealth of Australia in exchange for the turn back of asylum seeker boats30 July 2015
UnitingJustice Australia has made a submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee about the payment of cash or other inducements by the Commonwealth of Australia in exchange for the turn back of asylum seeker boats.
Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 201520 April 2015
UnitingJustice Australia made a submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015. We recommended that the bill not be passed as it gives even greater powers to detention centre security staff to use force with impunity in their interactions with asylum seekers. Lack of definition of "reasonable force" leaves open the possibility of a variety of definitions by different stakeholders. We argue that the greatest threats to the safety and security of asylum seekers in immigration detention are physical and sexual abuse, significant mental health conditions, and self-harm as a result of conditions in detention. The increased use of force by detention centre staff will not improve the situation, and may in fact make it worse.
UnitingJustice has called on the Government to improve Australia’s Humanitarian Programme by recognising the rights of all asylum seekers regardless of how they arrived in Australia. Our submission makes a number of recommendations for next year’s programme including increasing the number of refugees that Australia accepts each year and working multilaterally (rather than bilaterally) to develop a genuine regional protection framework. We continue to support access to family reunion for all refugees in Australia.
Inquiry into the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 201411 November 2014
UnitingJustice has contributed to a Senate inquiry into draft legislation on the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. The proposed changes seek to make all the activities of Operation Sovereign Borders law. They would allow the Government to ignore court decisions and international obligations. The Bill re-introduces temporary protection visas, denying permanent protection to those who are found to be refugees. Changes to the refugee claim assessment process risks Australia incorrectly returning people to situations of danger. The Bill also threatens the accountability and transparency upon which our democratic government should operate.
UnitingJustice supports the aim of the Bill to establish an independent Office of Guardian for asylum seeker children without parents or carers. This Bill would ensure that the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection is no longer the de facto guardian of unaccompanied asylum seeker children.
UnitingJustice supports the proposed amendment to the Migration Act 1958. This amendment will ensure that a baby born in Australia to asylum seeker parents will be able to remain in Australia with their parents until their protection claim is processed, preventing the child from undergoing indefinite and mandatory detention including removal to regional processing centres.