Party Political Documents

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The Democrats

Policies are on:
http://www.democrats.org.au/policies/

of special interest:
Alternatives to Mandatory Detention http://www.democrats.org.au/docs/2004/IMMIGRATION_Alternatives_to_Detention_.pdf
and Pacific Solution http://www.democrats.org.au/docs/2004/IMMIGRATION_Pacific_Solution.pdf
All policy documents are pdf files.

also of interest refugee campaigns page: http://www.democrats.org.au/campaigns/free_the_refugees/


The Greens

Refugees:

Australia has committed itself to international treaties and conventions concerning refugees and human rights and it must honour these obligations. The current system of mandatory detention places us in breach of international obligations and violates the fundamental human rights of asylum seekers. The Australian Greens will work to have such detention abolished.

More details are at: http://greens.org.au/policies/society/immigrationandrefugees
Full policy as a .pdf document http://greens.org.au/ploneprint/immigration.pdf (112KB)


Australian Labor Party:

http://www.alp.org.au/media/0407/speimm270.phpTony Burke Speech to ALP National Conference 27th April 2007 on ALP immigration policy.

The ALP platform and constitution and resolutions, Chap 7, “Human Rights and Equal Opportunity” are on:
http://www.alp.org.au/platform/chapter_07.php

See especially under Immigration, paras 109-110, 112-114, and Resolutions, The Implementation of Labor’s Refugee and Asylum Seeker Policy in Government.

ALP policy may (hopefully will) be changing after the party conference on 27th February 2007. It would be useful to keep informing delegates about what needs to change and why.

RAC received this note from the office of Senator Kate Lundy (in reponse to a request for comment.)
Sent: Monday, 11 December 2006
Subject: Refugee issues in an election year

Thank-you for writing to Senator Lundy on behalf of the Refugee Action Committee, Canberra. Senator Lundy has been made aware of RAC’s plans for 2007 and commends the Committees action on these very important matters.

This year, with Labor’s support, there have been some wins on ensuring that refugees and asylum seekers coming to Australia are afforded basic human rights, but there is clearly more that needs to be done.

Labor believes that we must treat individuals fairly and with dignity and civility. To treat individuals fairly requires that they are dealt with in a speedy and efficient manner, where decisions are based on fair procedures and subject to appropriate review.It is also in our national interest to conduct ourselves as a good international citizen, to do our fair share for those who are subject to persecution and who need protection.

I have outlined below Labor’s current position on the three main issues you raised in your e-mail to Senator Lundy. I am unsure if this will change before the next election.

If you would like to discuss some of the issues that RAC are concerned with Senator Lundy further, please contact our office.

office of senator kate lundy I act labor senator shadow minister for sport and recreation
p: 02 6277 3334
f: 02 6277 3884

MANDATORY DETENTION

Maintaining mandatory detention is a part of Labor’s approach.

Although Labor support mandatory detention, under the Howard Government, the detention system has degenerated into a system of punishment.

The real issue is not whether we have mandatory detention – the real issue is the nature and extent of detention we have.

Labor’s approach to mandatory detention is different to that of the Howard Government. The Howard Government is just about locking people up; Labor is about assessing and processing and then releasing suitable people into a supervised environment. Labor will provide open hostel style supervised accommodation for those with prima facie claims who are not a health, security or absconding risk.

Mandatory detention is not just essential for security issues; it is also a good public health and quarantine measure.

Management of detention facilities by Commonwealth officers on Commonwealth territory Labor believes that the management of immigration detention centres should not be privatised or outsourced to overseas countries, international corporations or private companies, but should be a matter for Commonwealth officers on Commonwealth Territory. Labor will return the management of detention centres to the public sector, with centres managed by Commonwealth Officers on Commonwealth territory.

Children in Detention The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) report into children in detention, released in May this year, is an indictment of the Howard-Ruddock children in immigration detention policy and an indictment of the Government’s administration of that policy.

The Howard Government has presided over a bad period. John Howard should simply acknowledge that his policy has been a mistake.

We must set the system up for the future so that this cannot happen again.

Labor has an absolute commitment that immigration detention centres are no place for the long-term detention of children.

Labor will establish a Federal Children’s Commissioner and believes the guardianship of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Australia would be an ideal role for the Children’s Commissioner. These children would be placed in foster or appropriate community care once initial health and security checks are completed.

Inspector-General of Detention Under Labor there will be independent monitoring of detention facilities. Labor will appoint an Inspector-General of Detention, an independent statutory officer, who will hear and resolve complaints from detainees about detention. The Inspector-General will monitor detention conditions and will also be able to inquire into broader problems on his or her own motion. The Inspector-General will be supported and advised by the Immigration Detention Advisory Group.

Access to Immigration Detention Centres Labor will provide sensible access to detention centres for the media and independent medical professionals.

End the “Pacific Solution”

Labor will end the so called “Pacific Solution”, with its huge cost to Australian taxpayers.

The Howard Government has now spent $200 million of taxpayers’ money on the so-called ‘Pacific Solution’ and has budgeted for another $85.3 million for the next financial year and anywhere up to $300 million in the forward estimates. The ‘Pacific Solution’ is now a ridiculously expensive farce. Labor will end it immediately.

On the 31 May the last person detained on Manus Island entered Australia on a protection visa. Rather than mothballing the facility as it has done previously with Curtain, Woomera and more recently Port Headland detention centres, the Government has made the farcical decision to keep the Manus Island facility fully operational.

The Howard Government also indicated that the empty facility will remain operational at a cost of $250,000 a month under the agreement with the Papua New Guinea Government which ends in October. The Government has also admitted that it might extend the operation of that facility beyond October.

We are now in the ridiculous situation where the Howard Government is prepared to spend $1.25 million of taxpayers’ money to keep the empty Manus Island facility open until October. Labor will end the Pacific Solution.

TEMPORARY PROTECTION VISAS

Labor will maintain a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) system for unauthorised arrivals with a one-off TPV period of two years, after which, if ongoing protection is still required, permanent protection will be granted.

Under Labor’s approach, the onus or burden of proof will be on the Commonwealth to show that the ongoing protection of the Refugee Convention is not required.

Upon coming to Government, Labor will conduct an immediate review of the circumstances of each existing TPV holder of two years or more duration, giving priority to those who have been on a TPV for the longest period.

Where a TPV holder has been in the community longer than two years, a Labor Government will offer permanent protection if the ongoing protection of the Refugee Convention is required. If the Commonwealth determines that is not the case, that will be reviewable as a Migration Act decision.

In those cases where it is determined that protection is no longer required, Labor will offer permanent residence to the TPV holder who passes a rigorous public interest test where it is found the person is the sort of person who Australia would otherwise select for a migration program — someone who has made, and can continue to make, economic, social, community and family contributions beneficial to the Australian community, particularly within rural or regional Australia.

Labor’s approach to TPV holders will not only clear the Howard Government’s backlog, but it will set up a better TPV system for the future.


Socialist Alliance:
Policies on line.