Protesters gathering around Australia demand increased refugee reception and ‘fairer’ policies
“Today is an opportunity to publicly speak out that we are calling on the Australian government to show fairness to refugees and asylum seekers,” said Frances Rush, CEO of the ‘Asylum Seekers Center in Sydney.
“We believe many people in Australia want a fairer response to people seeking asylum…an end to overseas treatment and a real increase in our humanitarian input.”
“We’ve seen some movement from the Australian government, but we want a lot more and we know the community wants a lot more.”
The federal budget released at the end of March maintains the annual admission of refugees to Australia at
and also for the next four years forecast estimates.
In the budget, the federal government also announced a special contribution of 16,500 additional humanitarian places for Afghan nationals. The government has resettled some 5,000 Ukrainians since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began.
The rallies in Australia come as the well-known Melbourne Park Hotel detention center has been emptied.
The Asylum Seekers Resource Center (ASRC) reported that as part of a group of 20 relay visas granted.
The Park Hotel caught the world’s attention in January, when world No. 1 tennis star Novak Djokovic was temporarily detained.
The last remaining female refugee at Villawood Immigration Detention Center in Sydney has also been released.
Sunday’s rally in Melbourne celebrated the closure of the Park Hotel, but also called for permanent visas for those living in “limbo” on transitional or temporary visas.
“It’s a small celebration for those who are released, but it’s not over until they’re all released,” said Pamela Curr of the CURC in Melbourne.
The last remaining immigration detainees were released from Melbourne’s Park Hotel on Thursday. Credit: AAP
“I know there are many families who have been stuck in community detention for 10 years, that means they are denied the right to work, they are denied the right to study. They are just fed and watered . It’s horrible.”
According to the ASRC, 250 people have been released from detention on land since December 2020, but 10 still remain.
The Resource Center for Asylum Seekers says 10 refugees remain in Australian detention centers while nearly 200 remain in offshore centers in Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
“After almost a decade of torturing refugees, it is clear that this appalling time is coming to an end,” said refugee advocate Craig Foster.
“However, around 217 [people] are suffering off PNG and Nauru when it is obvious to all Australians that they should all be released immediately. We call [Immigration Minister] Karen Andrews and the Morrison government to do the right thing on our behalf and let them go.”
A Home Office spokesperson told SBS News that “the Australian Government remains committed to its strong border protection policies, including regional treatment in Nauru.”
“These policies have been successful in stemming the flow of illegal maritime businesses into Australia, disrupting human smuggling activities in the region and preventing loss of life at sea.”
“Many people are looking to resettle in the United States, Canada or the new
The Australian Refugee Council said that once these provisions are taken into account, there are still 505 people in the immigration detention system in Nauru, PNG and Australia.