The Turnbull Government's Department of Immigration and Border Protection has started sending letters to people seeking asylum in our community warning that unless they lodge their protection visa applications within 14-30 days, they will lose access to Medicare, their right to work and their right to apply for asylum in Australia.
These people have waited for over 4 years to apply for protection and now they have been given only up to 4 weeks to lodge their applications.
It just doesn't make sense. Surely the Turnbull Government should be ensuring that our refugee determination system is fair, efficient and transparent where each person's case is examined fairly.
These letters are simply the latest attempt by the Turnbull Government to deny people seeking asylum a fair chance. Since coming to office in 2013, the Abbott-Turnbull Government has:
- Created protection visa application forms that are so complex they are very difficult to complete without legal assistance;
- Removed funding for refugee legal support services; and
- Removed access to proper review processes, which means if someone makes a mistake on these incredibly complex application forms, they may have no appeal rights.
This is an issue of basic human rights. Everyone has the right to live in peace, free from danger. However, this latest move by the Turnbull Government risks returning people to harm.
What can you do?
Call Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten and your local MP
Malcolm Turnbull - (02) 6277 7700
Bill Shorten - (02) 6277 4022
You can find your local MP and Senator and their contact details here. Simply type your postcode and you will find the name of your MP and their contact details.
Key Message: Please stop sending these letters - every application should be assessed fairly.
- The letters being sent by the Government are creating so much uncertainty in the community
- The applications forms are incredibly complex and long - they are virtually impossible to complete without access to legal support. Unfortunately, this assistance has also been cut by this Government
- What is the Government hoping to achieve by creating these arbitrary deadlines? Surely we should be ensuring that our refugee determination system is fair, efficient and transparent where each person's case is examined fairly
- Everyone has the right to live in safety. Forcing people to rush their applications simply increases the risk people will be returned to harm
- When we treat people seeking asylum with compassion and dignity, they can get on with rebuilding their lives in our communities
Be constructive, not argumentative
When talking to politicians and their offices, the most effective approach is to be conciliatory. We want to have constructive conversations - getting into arguments is not productive and just makes people defensive.