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The 7 Principles to Building a Better Refugee Policy

On World Refugee Day we reflect back on the event we hosted on Thursday 13th June with The Kaldor Centre on “Building a Better Refugee Policy”.  David Gonski AC and Prof Jane McAdam introduced the Kaldor Centre Principles & Priorities for Australian Refugee Policy at a sold-out event.

The 7 Principles provide a stable foundation for responsible policy making, and make specific recommendations for meaningful, measurable actions towards a better future:

  • Australia should comply with its international legal obligations, and not send people back to harm, giving each person seeking asylum a chance to fully present their claim.
  • Australia should provide human, fair reception conditions, rather than detaining people, particularly children. Australia arguably has the most restrictive detention policy in the world, and this, combined with offshore processing, costs billions of dollars that could be redirected towards more effective and humane alternatives.
  • Australia should give people a fair hearing, in contrast to the current ‘fast-track’ procedure, which discriminates against certain refugees and lacks procedural safeguards. People should be provided with support to present their claims, decreasing the likelihood of appeals and increasing efficiency. A more transparent system would also promote greater public confidence in decision-making.
  • Australia should respect the principles of family unity and the best interest of the child, including by appointing an independent guardian for unaccompanied children, and restoring family reunion rights for all refugees. Children should not be separated from their parents.
  • Australia should create additional safe, lawful pathways to protection, which is in the interests both of government and refugees. Most people want to move safety and lawfully, and most governments want to know who has entered their territory and why.
  • Australia should provide global and regional leadership on refugee protection, including by expanding our resettlement program and by actively promoting protection and solutions within the Asia-Pacific region and globally.
  • Australia should invest in refugees for long-term success, by abolishing temporary protection, which hinders refugees’ ability to move forward in their lives, and by supporting refugees’ education and skills, enabling them to contribute to their own well-being and that of their families and community.

W+K is proud to support the work of The Kaldor Centre and welcomes this important contribution to the refugee policy debate.

You can read more about the Principles here:

© Wotton + Kearney 2019
This publication is intended to provide commentary and general information. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this publication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all states and territories.