Updated: Mar 29
On Tuesday the 22nd of March the Australian Government came to an agreement with the New Zealand Government to resettle up to 450 refugees in New Zealand over 3 years. An offer from New Zealand has been on the table for 9 years.
The places for resettlement are allocated out of the current New Zealand humanitarian program. It applies to those on Nauru with refugee status and those who are now in Australia. It will not apply to refugees on PNG.
While we should all be happy that the offer for resettlement has been accepted it is perfectly reasonable to give a light clap rather than a resounding round of applause.
In 2014, I, along with others, visited Scott Morrison’s office when he was Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. We went to talk about refugees, people seeking asylum, climate change and media diversity. He did not show up to the meeting, nor did he come back to us as was promised.
Last year I spent several hours speaking with Craig Foster on refugees and the role of democracy.
On Tuesday I had a follow-up meeting with an Amnesty International representative on my policy on refugees. I do not take policy for people seeking asylum and refugees lightly. These are complex human issues that require I speak with people with in-depth knowledge far beyond mine.
On Wednesday just hours before the news of the resettlement deal with New Zealand, I was speaking with a former counsellor with ASETTS, the Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors.
There is no doubt policies for refugees and people seeking Asylum are complex, but they should never have been punitive. Australia has punished vulnerable people as a deterrent to other vulnerable people.
So yes, I’m happy for 450 refugees who are finally able to settle, but I’m so sad that the leaders of our country have to be dragged kicking and screaming to do the right thing.
I do not believe the people in power respect the soul of our country. We are better than how we have been represented.
#GameOver Be sure to join us at our regenerating Australia event to hear from Kevin Sweeney, Amnesty International Regional President for NSW, Convenor of the National Amnesty Refugee Network, and Convenor of the Newcastle Amnesty Group. REGENERATE AUSTRALIA - SPECIAL FILM EVENT | Linda Seymour