Pirate Party unveils asylum seeker policy

Pirate Party Australia is pleased to announce its policy on asylum seekers that calls on all members of the region to share responsibility for the handling of refugees. The policy incorporates advice from leading experts including the Refugee Council of Australia and Julian Burnside, QC[1] and represents Pirate Party Australia’s commitment to evidence-based policies.

The policy was proposed at the National Congress this year, and its passing was almost directly followed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ condemnation of the Rudd Government’s plan for settling asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea[2].

Under the Pirate Party’s policy, Australia would lead a capacity building initiative to upgrade facilities across the region, encourage regional partners to sign the refugee convention, and create a shared processing arrangement. Asylum seekers arriving anywhere in the region will be subject to a single process, removing specific incentives to risk travelling all the way to Australia. A transparent allocation process would ensure each nation takes on a share of asylum seekers, reducing disputes and allowing information to be pooled.

“We currently spend over $1 billion annually on detention facilities, which could be diverted into actually solving the issue and making our region take collective responsibility for asylum seekers,” said Joe Miles, lead Victorian Senate candidate. “The hardline stance recently taken by the Australian Labor Party fails to take any responsibility for the root causes — people are seeking asylum here because we were one of the few countries accepting refugees. Settlement in Papua New Guinea, a nation with a crime rate so high that the Australian Government itself warns travellers, a nation that refuses to legalise homosexuality, is not a solution.”[3][4][5]

“On the other hand, the Coalition’s ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’ policy sweeps the problem under the carpet. Asylum seekers are the symptom, not the problem. Seeking asylum is lawful, and we should be encouraging our neighbours in the region to assist in processing asylum seekers so that they don’t have to risk their lives by travelling all the way to Australia but are instead able to seek asylum in a dignified, humane manner.”

This policy ensures that the responsibility for the processing of asylum seekers and settling of refugees is a regional responsibility, not just the responsibility of Australia. The process is to be overseen by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or by an independent, expert organisation.

Under the Pirate Party’s policy, refugees would be provided with essential services, a basic income, a right to work and a pathway to citizenship, with families being kept together. Although preferences for a destination nation may be taken into account, final decisions would be made in line with agreed quotas.

Closure of offshore detention centres will free up funds, which can be redirected in order to provide incentives for regional nations to sign the Refugee Convention and engage with the Australia-led plan. Additional resources will allow participant nations to clear existing backlogs and speed future processing times, develop humane processing practices and improve support services in destination countries.

[1] https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Policies/Asylum_Seekers_and_Refugees
[2] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/un-refugee-agency-condemns-kevin-rudds-png-asylum-seeker-plan/story-fn9hm1gu-1226686151213
[3] http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/advice/papua_new_guinea
[4] http://www.refworld.org/country,,,,PNG,,517e6df152,0.html
[5] http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1691501/No-end-in-sight-to-PNGs-anti-gay-laws

11 thoughts on “Pirate Party unveils asylum seeker policy

  1. I believe that Australia should offer a safe ferry service to those refugees in Indonesia who would otherwise risk life and limb in leaky boats.

    These refugee’s lives are in danger in their home country, due to political or racial or religious prejudice.

    If I were a refugee in that position, I would be ecstatic to be granted a Temporary Protection Visa to Australia, which permitted me to seek work with the assistance of Centrelink, and which provided access to Medicare and other taxpayer funded assistance and schooling for my children. I would consider it a minor inconvenience that I might lose my TPV status if conditions in my homeland stabilized. If this option had been offered to German Jews in 1939 the world would be a richer place.

    As an Australian I note that our unemploymment rate is among the lowest in the world. Australians would benefit from this flow of skilled and enterprising and industrious immigrants, who would contribute to the economic development of our country.

    I only suggest TPV’s because of the concerns expressed by my countrymen that many immigrants are only here to milk the welfare system. I would actually support introduction of a regulation that would permit people who had lived in Australia for (say) 12 years on a TPV to apply for residency.

  2. If anyone is capable of and knowledgeable of a regional solution to the refugee issue it’s Kevin Rudd, so I think it’s naive for the pirate party to suggest such solutions.

    Secondly, allowing wannabe refugees a vast improvement in living conditions while they await their processing will increase our refugee intake by at least 10. That’s 150 000 wannabe refugees released into the public. Creating a new social illigel immigrant underclass like in the U.S and Europe.

    With such a policy to a dear to australian hearts issue, I can’t take the pirate party very seriously.

  3. I am all for helping genuine refugees but I am sick and tired of Australia spending so much money on people arriving illegally. I’m not heartless to their plight but we should take a no nonsense attitude and stop accepting them. They know they are arriving the wrong way, why should we dismiss our immigration rules just because we feel sorry for them.

    I know it’s not PC to talk like this but I’m sure there are many unheard people that think the same.

  4. Maybe you two didn’t realize. Doing what I suggest will cost us zilch. And will stop drowning. In fact, given a TPV these poor immigrants will be contributing (by way of taxes collected) to Australia’s wealth.

    Reducing the amount of taxes that need to be paid from everyone else!

    So we issue 100,000 TPVs per year? Well that many refugees might put a few lazy union workers out of a job. Care Factor zero.

  5. I agree with Chris.

    In fact you can attach all kinds of conditions to TPVs. Make the tax a bit higher, eg. compulsory medicare levy.

    Limit access to social care benefits – eg no dole bludging, and nothing more than very basic health medicare.

    If you make these people productive members of society they will contribute. Most immigrants I’ve ever met are willing to work hard and contribute – if only they were given the chance.

    This country was built by immigrants – that’s how you grow and create prosperity. And being an affluent country we have a social responsibility to help too in my opinion. Unless you’re of Aboriginal descent you’re a hypocrite if you agree with the “go back to where you came from” sentiment.

    1. Thank you Johann.

      If you research, you will find that TPV (see wiki) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporary_protection_visa where the relevant section states

      “TPV holders are only eligible for some of the special settlement services funded by the Commonwealth to assist new arrivals in Australia. Unlike Permanent visa (PV) holders, TPV recipients have no family reunion rights and no right to re-enter the country if they decide to depart Australia. TPV holders do have the right to work and have access to job matching by Centrelink. They are also eligible for Special Benefit, Rent Assistance, Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Medicare, Early Health Assessment and Intervention Program, torture and trauma counselling, and English as a Second Language classes (for TPV minors only).”

  6. If refugees are such a social asset, we should let PNG have them, they need help more than we do.

    If they aren’t a social asset, they are a social burden and we should prevent them coming here if we can.

    The wikileaks party says Australia has much less refugees per capita than other nations, but that’s a GOOD thing. Other nations who aren’t an island with a vast sea barrier have no choice but to accept illegal immigrants, securing the land border and expelling them would cost too much.

  7. I found this policy idea very interesting and Fresh! (now that’s a word missing from politics) Firstly, thank you for offering the idea of a possible new foundation, as a younger person it’s nice to say “fresh” and politics in the same sentence. Off the mark if I were to make comment/offer my thoughts on what I just read I would say this. I very much like the inclusion of an independent reviewer, however my stand would be exactly that, independent. When it comes to the topic of refugees the UN is not what one would call an entirely independent body. And I believe the guarantee of such independence would ensure more open “ears” to such ideas. Reading the concept behind this policy really engaged me, however it made me want to sink my teeth into something more substantial. What I mean by this is, in the simplest of terms, how does The Pirate Party plan to reach this vision, from a practical perspective? I would also love to see a localisation/community approach to be built into policy, like the regional concept discussed here, but applied to, for example, the refugees being settled into Australia. The locals in a particular region have more of a voice on the specific approach to meet the needs of that unique region and to give them the chance to easily become evolved. Which I’m sure would have a positive affect in general, for all involved. The concept of global action locally comes to mind. I am keen to hear more of this idea from The Pirate Party.

  8. Ferry service and TPV’s to all 40 million refugees in the world is dumb. Don’t think 100 000 a year, think 300 000 a year.

    Shortsighted really. As soon as Islamic communities grow enough (most refugees are muslim), we will see the same assimilation problems Europe is currently facing. And by then it’s probably too late to go back.

  9. Who is best positioned to stop the boats?

    The Pirate Party of Australia! That’s who!


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