REFUGEES & ASYLUM SEEKERS
Australia’s rapid population growth is not caused by refugees or asylum seekers. Refugees, including asylum seekers, make up only around five per cent of Australia’s population growth, and are being used as a distraction by federal governments in order to quietly maintain a large ‘economic’ immigration program - by plane. This unsustainable immigration is driven by the desire of large employers and their representatives for more customers and cheaper labour, as well as a larger 'aggregate' (but not per capita) GDP statistic for governments to promote.
Australia should protect genuine refugees from persecution, whilst having an overriding aim to help people live sustainably in peace and harmony in their homeland and region.
Policy Methods (Federal)
To help achieve this Australia should:
- Maintain an annual permanent refugee intake of around 14,000-20,000, according to circumstances.(1)
- Consider further refugee and asylum seeker requests and claims, including temporary asylum, according to circumstances.
- Provide support for the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (UN Refugee Convention), including Article 1(c), which provides that refugee status can cease where circumstances in connection with refugee status have ceased to exist.(2)
- Recognise and address the root causes of the world’s refugee migration, including rapid population growth, resource scarcity, corruption, poverty, conflict and war (also see foreign aid funding in SUSTAINABLE POPULATION - GLOBAL policy).
- Remove all asylum seeker children from detention as soon as practicably possible.
- Recognise that the first preference of genuine refugees is to live in peace in their region, and that given the scale of the global refugee crisis, this is a much more sustainable and cost effective solution than permanently resettling people into Australia.(3)
- Work to prevent asylum seeker deaths at sea. Within the context of a future government adopting Sustainable Australia’s targeted foreign aid policies designed to tackle root causes of refugee migration such as rapid population growth and poverty (see SUSTAINABLE POPULATION – GLOBAL), we would provide support for the combination of offshore processing, regional resettlement, and boat turn-backs where safe to do so.(3)(4)
- This intake is one of the top three per capita UN-facilitated permanent resettlements of refugees in the world, and would be counted within Australia’s total annual permanent immigration program of around 70,000 per annum (see SUSTAINABLE POPULATION & IMMIGRATION policy).
- The UN works to return displaced peoples where safe to do so, such as to the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina): CLICK HERE
- Government officials say the 2015/16 12,000-strong Syrian refugee intake is expected to cost $700 million over four years, accounting for about $60,000 for each person resettled in Australia under the expanded humanitarian program (just for direct resettlement, not including major costs like public infrastructure, which can add up to over $100,000 per person). According to World Vision, Australians can sponsor a child for around $500 p.a. and provide basic needs like food, water, education and hygiene. The very conservatively estimated $60,000 per person could help 120 children in their homeland over four years ($700 million could help 1.4 million children over four years). Helping people to live in peace and harmony in their homeland makes a real difference. Also see media release: Refugee posturing by politicians morally misguided: CLICK HERE
- According to Marie Stopes International, $5 could provide a developing nation woman with 10 years of IUD contraception (50c p.a.), freeing them to earn an income for their family. $60,000 could help 120,000 women in their homeland over four years, and tackle this key root cause of forced migration – rapid population growth. According to the Gates Foundation, voluntary family planning is one of the most cost-effective investments a country can make in its future. Every dollar spent on family planning can save governments up to 6 dollars that can be spent on improving health, housing, water, and other public services.
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