RCOA has recently achieved an exciting win for refugee advocacy–the establishment of the first-ever cross-partisan Parliamentary Friends of Refugees Group.
This group was formed from a multi-party collective of MPs and Senators, who share our vision of creating a country that is more welcoming to refugees. Members of this newly formed group will help promote fairer, more humane treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum.
We are pleased to announce the new group’s co-chairs:
- Kate Thwaites MP, Labor
- the Hon Dan Tehan MP, Liberal
- Senator Nick McKim, Greens
- Zoe Daniel MP, Independent
In their new role, these politicians have reached out to other MPs and Senators, inviting them to join. At the time of publication, 50 members have joined.
We are now working closely alongside co-chairs and members of the group to organise initiatives in Parliament that promote greater awareness of refugee issues. These initiatives will involve refugees sharing their lived experiences in order to shine a light on the human impact of Australia’s harsh refugee policies.
Initiatives will include:
- Advocating for an expansion of the Refugee and Humanitarian Program
- A pre-budget briefing on how we can help 10,000 people seeking asylum to escape deep poverty by reinstating a basic safety net
- Looking for solutions for people still trapped in the offshore processing regime
- Suggesting to parliamentarians more meaningful ways Australia could engage in refugee protection in the Asia-Pacific region
We will communicate with members of the Friendship Group throughout the year to inform them about pressing refugee-policy issues, and urge them to act for positive change.
At the time of going to print, we were working with the co-chairs to organise a launch in Parliament House. This event would share inspiring stories of refugees in Australia, to highlight the importance of supporting an increased intake. Speakers include:
- Fatima Yousufi, Captain and Goalkeeper for the Afghanistan Women’s Soccer Team
- Shukufa Tahiri, Deputy Chair of the National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG)
- Abang Anade Othow, RCOA Face-to-Face speaker
- Paul Power, RCOA CEO