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Sign our Petition for a National Consensus on Refugees


 
Refugees who are granted asylum in Australia should be given a Temporary Protection Visa for 2 years, renewable for a further 2 years until such time as conditions in their country of origin permit their safe return home. Refugee status does not mean permanent residency in Australia.























Refugee camp in Jordan.

Asylum seekers and refugees should be accommodated and supported in civil society by sponsor families or communities. Detention centres in Australia and offshore should be closed.

Asylum seekers entering Australia by boat should be intercepted and turned back to their ports of departure.
Resources saved through the closure of detention centres should be redirected to supports for refugees close to home, in Jordan, Somalia, and Pakistan.
Refugees with education and skills have an obligation to contribute to development and reconciliation in their homelands once it is safe to return home.

 
Australia has been bitterly divided by the refugee issue for many years. Our politicians have been unable to come up with a sensible consensus that honours our international obligations and the obligations of refugees to their own homelands. Confusion and political division have prevailed for too long. With a new political mood in Canberra, a sensible consensus is perhaps now possible.

With more than 60 million displaced people in the world, the refugee issue is not going away soon. Even if Australia doubled or quadrupled its humanitarian intake of 20,000 people as permanent residents, the impact on the total number of displaced people will remain marginal. The overwhelming humanitarian need is for short-term assistance and provision of a safe haven for displaced people until such time as they can safely return home. Permanent residency for refugees in countries like Australia is not a solution to the displacement of 60 million people.


The UN Convention on Refugees to which Australia is a signatory requires Australia to not return displaced people to their homeland if their lives are at risk. The Convention does not oblige Australia to accept asylum seekers as permanent residents if they are found to be genuine refugees. Nor does it oblige Australia to detain asylum seekers in detention centres, or provide them with welfare benefits on arrival.

We need a national consensus in responding to the refugee crisis. We need practical forms of support for refugees which acknowledge the obligations of refugees to their own homelands, and Australian obligations to support a significant number of displaced people through this transition. We can and should deter arrivals by boat. We can offer a temporary safe haven for many, without detention centres or offshore processing, until it is safe to return home. We can draw on civil society rather than contractors or security guards to provide more effective temporary supports for refugees.

We urge Australians to support the five propositions above. We believe these five points form the basis for a workable national consensus on these issues. We think Australians across the political spectrum, from conservative to radical, country to city, right to left, will find this pragmatic people-based approach more in keeping with Australian values.

We want one million Australians to sign this Petition for a National Consensus on Refugees. In doing so, we can start a process of change on these issues. A grassroots movement of ordinary Australians can stop politicians demeaning themselves and restore common sense to Canberra.

Sign this petition. Send it on to your friends and networks. Become involved. You'll be very welcome.
 

Petition for a National Consensus on Refugees
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