Refugee Council of Australia
Parliament house, canberra, australia

ALP refugee policy commitments in their 2021 National Platform

Border control and offshore processing

  1. (Page 84) To maintain Australians’ confidence and trust in the integrity of our migration system, Labor will fund and maintain robust border security measures that support the orderly processing of migration to our country and protect our national interest and our national borders.
  2. To combat all forms of people smuggling, trafficking and exploitation by boat, plane or other means, Labor will engage with Australia’s neighbours to address ‘push factors’ by seeking innovative, effective and lawful solutions to the irregular movement of people through the region.
  3. (Page 126) For the Australian people to have confidence and trust in the integrity of our migration system, Labor will fund and maintain robust border security measures that support the orderly processing of migration to our country and protect our national interest and our national borders.
  4. Labor will ensure asylum seekers who arrive by irregular means will not be punished for their mode of arrival.
  5. Labor is united in its commitment to prevent further loss of life at sea of vulnerable children, women and men. Labor will:
  • Meet its obligations to the maritime principle of safety of life at sea which requires a response to assist in the rescue at sea of vessels in distress;
  • Consider introducing further penalties for serious people smuggling offences; and
  • Ensure repatriation of crew members who are proven to be juveniles.
  1. To support Australia’s strong border security regime, Labor will maintain:
  • An architecture of excised offshore places; and
  • The non-statutory processing on Christmas Island of persons who arrive unauthorised at an excised place, except where other arrangements are entered into under bilateral and regional arrangements.
  1. Labor will take advice from the UNHCR in relation to any arrangements with third countries to ensure resources and commitments provide appropriate settlement support services to refugees, including health and welfare services. Labor will prioritise establishing durable and suitable third country resettlement
  2. Labor will not pay people smugglers to engage in any form of people smuggling.
  3. (Page 127) Labor will not detain, process or resettle lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex refugees or asylum seekers in countries which have criminal laws against any of these communities as it makes these places unsafe environments for all of them.
  4. Labor recognises that successive Coalition Governments have failed to negotiate viable and timely regional resettlement arrangements, which has left refugees and asylum seekers including children languishing in indefinite detention. Labor believes that whilst these arrangements are negotiated, the Australian Government is not absolved of its obligation to provide appropriate health, security, and welfare services to asylum seekers. Labor will:
  • Work to negotiate on, and agree to, regional resettlement arrangements and resettle eligible refugees as a priority;
  • Continue to support the United States Refugee Resettlement Agreement and accept New Zealand’s generous offer to resettle refugees by negotiating an agreement on similar terms as the United States Agreement; and
  • Ensure appropriate health, security, and welfare services for asylum seekers; and
  • Improve the medical transfer process, establish an Independent Health Advice Panel to provide medical advice and maintain ministerial discretion in all decision making.

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