- Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Immigration and Citizenship
- Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Immigration and Citizenship
Please let our 3-year-old son stay in Australia!
We are a happy and settled family living in Seymour, Victoria. Our son Darragh was born in Australia on 18 August 2015. Australia is the only home our son knows. On 3 August 2015 we applied for our family to become permanent residents of Australia. A few weeks later our son was born and soon after he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Our family’s application for permanent residency was then refused by the Australian Department of Home Affairs because they assessed him as having a condition which make him a burden on the Australian community. Despite appealing the decision to the Administrative Review Tribunal, the Tribunal does not have the power to overturn the health assessment and as such unless the Hon David Coleman MP or Hon Peter Dutton MP can help us, we will be forced to leave our friends, family, and the life we have built for ourselves in Australia. The Administrative Review Tribunal has made a recommendation for our case to be referred to the minister. Darragh has been doing extremely well considering his condition, and we have positive letters from his doctors and specialist stating that he should live a full life and that his disease progression will be much slower than average. His condition has no effect on his cognitive ability and should he wish to finish school and go to University, he has every chance at being successful in a career path of his choosing. Darragh is a bright boy with a positive future ahead of him. We have always felt extremely grateful to live in Australia. I studied here gaining my Masters in Special Education. I have worked full-time as a school teacher and now as an Acting Assistant Principal and my husband works part-time as a bus driver and also volunteer for SES. We have been living in Australia for almost 10 years and have a strong support network here with our friends and family and we are well settled in regional Victoria. Darragh has the support of his inherited Australian family, our large support network in Seymour and the wider Australian community. By signing this petition, you are showing your support for Darragh and his life in Australia and you believe that he should be allowed to stay in Australia and have the opportunity to contribute to our community. Please sign and help us ask the Minister to let our son stay in Australia.
#DialitDownDutton. Don’t take away asylum seekers’ phones!
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peter Dutton is trying to sneak through legislation that would give Australian Border Force (ABF) officers the power to confiscate the phones of asylum seekers and refugees being held in detention. The National Justice Project stopped Dutton from doing this before. We took him to court for taking phones from asylum seekers and refugees back in 2017 and we won. He tried to introduce this law back then to overcome our Court win and failed, so now, while we’re all distracted by COVID-19, he’s trying again. Mobile phones provide asylum seekers and refugees with a lifeline to the outside world, to loved ones and to advocates – their mental health, the protection of their human rights, and their families depend on their phones. The proposed legislation gives ABF the power to effectively SILENCE and PUNISH innocent men, women and children who have not been convicted of any wrongdoing by cutting off their ability to stay in touch with family, lawyers and advocates. Mobile phones can also hold Dutton accountable – they can record instances of mistreatment and cruelty. On Manus Island, Behrouz Boochani wrote an entire book via WhatsApp, exposing the cruel reality of our offshore detention regime. The family from Biloela, currently on Christmas Island, used their phone to raise the alarm when Peter Dutton forced them onto a plane. It was a mobile phone that captured the shocking footage of little Tharunicaa screaming as her mother was dragged onto the plane by ABF officers. It’s no wonder that Peter Dutton wants to give his ABF officers the power to snatch the phones out of the hands of asylum seekers and refugees. He will do anything to break the spirits of these people and deprive them of their voices. We are up against a Government that will oppose human rights at every turn and prefer silencing their critics rather than taking responsibility for harm done to innocent people. If this law is passed, it can be used to threaten, intimidate and harass asylum seekers and refugees. Please, sign and share this petition and help us keep asylum seekers and refugees connected to the outside world. #DialitDownDutton
Stop the spread of COVID-19 in immigration detention centres #SaferAtHome
The first case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in connection with Australian-run immigration detention centres has been confirmed. As an Australian lawyer familiar with how detention centres are run, I am incredibly worried for the health and safety of the people inside these centres, including my youngest client, 2 year old Isabella. That’s why I’m calling for the release of these innocent people, before COVID-19 spreads through immigration detention centres. Isabella has been in detention her entire life. She is two years old, and has already had the flu less than a year ago. Her parents are beside themselves with worry as to how to keep her safe from COVID-19. There are others who are elderly or have compromised immune systems. Families across Australia are struggling with the ramifications of COVID-19. The families of people in detention are no different. We ask that these families are allowed to bring their loved ones home to see out the pandemic. These people have safe and caring home environments willing to support them, either with a family member or advocate in Australia. Detention centres have already experienced periods of no or limited access to soap, toilet paper, and even cough syrup. In an already difficult situation, this creates a situation which endangers the health of those detained and also the workers in these centres. These workers then go home to their loved ones and places those families at risk. There is a simple solution to this emerging and potentially life-threatening situation: send these people to homes in Australia. Those without immediate families have advocates in the community who will support them. Politics has no place in dealing with a global pandemic. Please, sign and share this petition and stand with these vulnerable and voiceless families. #SaferAtHome
#LetKavehLive. Freedom for this critically ill refugee before it’s too late.
"I can't stand another day in detention. I am a sick person, I can’t heal in detention. I need freedom to heal. I need your kind support. My health and condition will only improve once I have freedom" - Kaveh.Kaveh is dying. His body and mind are exhausted. If he isn’t released into the community soon, he will not survive. This would make him the 13th refugee or asylum seeker to die in Australian immigration detention. We cannot let that happen. Kaveh is one of the people medically evacuated from offshore detention to Australia. Despite his friends and fellow detainees being released earlier this year, Kaveh remains in detention even though he has been found to be a refugee. His physical and mental health has deteriorated while he remained locked up for over the last eight years.Kaveh suffers from several illnesses, including gastro issues which make it hard for him to eat. Thin already, in sheer desperation, Kaveh started a hunger strike to be released. He abandoned this after a month only to discover that his body would no longer tolerate food. Currently weighing just 47 kg, Kaveh is currently being treated in hospital, but he sees no hope for his future. At times, Kaveh tells me he would rather give up and die than continue to fight. But he also longs for his freedom, to be reunited with the men he met in detention. The men who he now calls his brothers. We know that by releasing him into community detention, Kaveh would have the opportunity to heal, and re-discover his hope. But if he remains locked up, he will not survive.The Australian Government has repeatedly ignored our calls to release Kaveh. The United Nations recently asked the Australian Government to place Kaveh in community detention. So far, that UN request has been completely ignored by Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews and Immigration Minister Alex Hawke. Please, join our call on the Australian Government to release Kaveh, before it is too late, by signing and sharing this petition. #LetKavehLive
Demand freedom for an Afghani interpreter who assisted the Allies
Assisting Allied troops and NGOs as a volunteer in Afghanistan was not likely to win him any awards, in a country ruled by a hierarchy deeply suspicious of Western influence. “Peter”, a caring teacher, husband and father, offered his services as an interpreter to international military personnel who used the nearby highway regularly as a thoroughfare. Once his behaviour was noticed by the Taliban, he began to be targeted, and realising that his life may be at risk, he fled the country. Upon Peter’s arrival in Australia, he was detained, but he was eventually found to be owed protection due to his work as an interpreter for Allied troops, and he was granted a visa and was released into the community. Unfortunately, the bridging visa he received had no work rights, rendering him unable to support himself in Australia, or his family back home in Afghanistan – left as the head of the household back home, Peter’s wife struggled to take care of their young family. Desperate, Peter blindly acted and committed a crime which would have him thrown back into detention. Three and a half years later, Peter is still in detention in Australia, having had his visa revoked. Currently, no deportations are taking place to anywhere, due to COVID-19. Deportations back to Afghanistan are rare to non-existent, due to safety concerns, particularly for people of Peter’s tribal ethnicity. Interpreters who have assisted Allied troops have been issued with protection visas in the past, which allow them to work and support themselves in Australia. This is what Peter should have received in the first place. Peter is stuck in limbo. He cannot support his family while in detention. He cannot be sent back home. He waits, not knowing if or when anything will change to relieve his anxiety about his family and their future. He has been separated from them for over 7 years. Interpreters enabled Allied soldiers to protect themselves, to do their jobs and to help the Afghan people as they struggle under the oppression of the Taliban regime. They should be regarded as heroes instead of being treated like criminals. Please sign and share to demand that Peter Dutton, Alan Tudge and the Departments of Immigration and Home Affairs release Peter on a protection visa that will allow him to support himself and to send funds home to help his family. Please also think about donating to Human Rights for All, so we can continue our pro bono work for people like Peter.
Request the extension of temporary visas (489&491) expiry date
As the holders of Skilled 489 and 491 visas, we have been prohibited to enter the land that we call home without any guilt. Most of us have jobs and homes in Australia and many people sold their homes and quit their jobs to prepare themselves for immigration.We are now under the most severe psychological and mental pressures. So, Since, these temporary visas have an expiration date and are required to apply for PR (which was our main purpose in applying for these type of visas), special conditions are required for income and presence in regional areas for a specified period of time. As you may know, failure to do this would lead to failure to achieve our main goal and wasting our time and money.Therefore, considering the conditions caused by Covid-19 and the loss of visa time during this period, please understand our sensitive conditions and make a decision for an arrangement our lost time and if it is possible, please extend our visa based on our delay to entry.
The National Emergency Medal a muddled medal volunteers deserve more
Dear Prime Minister, The National Emergency Medal was established in October 2011 by the Gillard Government and is an award of the Australian honours system given for sustained or significant service during a nationally significant emergency. The criteria for award of the National Emergency Medal has been criticised as not honouring the efforts of many volunteers. Due to safety issues, many volunteers were rotated out of disaster areas after as little as five days and unable to spend the required amount of time as on the ground in the disaster area to qualify for the medal. The timeframes that have been established by the NEM committee and maintained by the committee are unrealistic and not in keeping with community expectations for the sustained service section of this award. Lucy Kippist, writer at The Punch described the "confusing, disorganised and grossly unfair way the National Emergency Medal was put together in the first place. Thousands of volunteers across the country also expected to be on that list." She also stated that after announcing the creation of the new medal, the "Prime Minister neglected to mention that most of the volunteers who served in those regions were completely ineligible for the award. (see attachment for the full article) Prime Minister Julia Gillard when announcing the new medal, quoted that the medal is "an award for the many, not the few." This statement has since proved to be incorrect as most emergency services volunteers, even those who were involved in all three relevant national emergencies, i.e., Victorian fires, Brisbane floods and Cyclone Yasi, are ineligible for the award. Apart from this, issues arise with people who may have spent five days in Victoria, five days in Brisbane floods and another five days involved in Cyclone Yasi, a total of 15 days in national emergency areas but still not able to qualify for the medal, even though seven days is enough for Victoria alone. The statistics speak for themselves and can be obtained from ‘It’s an Honour” web site. Only 70 medals have been issued since the introduction of the award, only 3 specific events have been listed as national emergency disasters (all from the original set up) even though over 10,000 volunteers and paid emergency service members attending those events only less than 0.01% have been awarded a medal. Since that time in NSW alone there have been two of the most devastating East Coast lows and many emergency’s declared in NSW, Vic, SA and WA with none of these events being added to the list of applicable national emergencies, even though they were larger, longer and required more assistance from interstate and overseas emergency services than the original three. The stats don’t lie they indicate the medal is just not working or fulfilling its original role. As a NSW SES Volunteer and a task-force member who travelled to Cardwell after Cyclone Yasi to assist the local community start to recover from such as massive disaster it was devastating blow to know that myself and about 10,000 other emergency volunteers that put their lives and jobs on hold to travel vast distances and face uncertain conditions to do the right thing and give a mate a hand would not be recognised in the meaningful way that the National Emergency Medal was peddled to do by the Government of the day as ‘an award for the many, not the few’. I like a lot of my fellow volunteers believed the words of the Government of Prime Minister Gillard, that we would be on that list of recipients for this recognition. I also believed and assumed that the following governments would be by-partisan in their approach to making sure the medal would be fit for purpose and reviewed so the emergency volunteers and others who hold this country on their shoulders when the sh*t hits the fan and get it back together and running again would be honoured and recognised with an award for the many, not the few. So I am calling on you to fix this broken National Emergency Medal medallic system in the following ways: 1. Reduce the sustained service requirements for volunteers to 5 days (including travel) a day being calculated as 6 hrs and if more than 6 hrs is being worked in a 24hrs than the total hours worked will be divided by 6 hrs for the purposes of allocation of days. 2. Make the reduced sustained service requirements retrospective back to the introduction of the medal. 3. Ensure that the sustained service requirements are always in keeping with the WHS legal requirements for working in disaster sites and in alignment with the deployment timeframes as they are applied by each state to emergency service personal deployed to identified disasters. 4. Change the makeup of the National Emergency Medal award committee to include a yearly rotating member of the SES, RFS (or equivalent), preferably an emergency service volunteer. Allow the representation for those services to be rotated between states and don’t make the committee so out of touch with community expectations. 5. Allow the state Premiers to nominate new national events to an included on the roster of national emergencies for the medal including events that have happened since the original three at establishment. 6. Have some hast in imitating these changes as the rightful recipients of this award should not have to wait longer than the 6 years they have to be recognised by the Commonwealth and peoples of Australia as the unsung heroes they all are. Prime Minister, you are the political leader of this country so as my representative and the representative of the attached signatories please take notice of our voice’s and all the Australians who expect a fair go and some real honouring of our emergency services volunteers. These people who have placed their lives on the line day after day for the community far and wide and always seek nothing for their efforts but respect and some measure of recognition. Please recognise them not just with words but finally some action, give them a National Emergency Medal finally. The signed, Australian volunteers and our supporters, the Australian public. Attachment 1. An article from ‘The Punch’ A muddled medal: Our volunteers deserve more By Lucy Kippist (1st Feb 2012) In Grantham and beyond, they searched for bodies in battered houses and hot, swampy fields. Clearing debris from footpaths, roads and yards. Eighteen months before, they’d fought the inferno in southern and central Victoria, fighting fires, saving lives, and making endless cups of tea. They’re Australian volunteers - thousands of them - who left jobs and families to lend a hand to the natural disaster recovery efforts that swept across our eastern states in the past three years. Their work saved lives and homes. Comforted hearts, and made towns livable again. Actions fit for a reward of huge proportions. But here’s what they got instead. A muddled up medal with serious eligibility issues and a confusing criteria that ignored the efforts of thousands of others. And a bungled up awards ceremony. Seem unfair to you? Well, here’s how it happened. As we all know by now, despite what occurred at The Lobby on Australia Day, the ceremony had a very clear objective: to honour 26 Australians recognised by the government for their civic efforts during both natural disasters with the new National Emergency Medal. That is admirable. Each one of those 26 Australians deserved recognition for their efforts. What we didn’t know, however, was the confusing, disorganised and grossly unfair way the National Emergency Medal was put together in the first place. Thousands of volunteers across the country also expected to be on that list. As one Punch reader informed us this week, after the PM was seen at several disaster sites by a number of volunteers during the Queensland floods spreading the word about a new national medal, volunteers were left with the distinct impression they were eligible for the award. In this regard, the PM was right. The National Emergency Medal fills an important gap. While organisations like the SES, and rural fire services have their own system and a number of awards for recognising the efforts of their volunteers, there has never been a national award. In fact, New South Wales volunteer Kendall Thompson received the American Benjamin Franklin award last year for his efforts during the Queensland floods. And even went to the US to receive it. But what the PM neglected to mention was that most of the volunteers who served in those regions were completely ineligible for the award. Although rumoured to be as a result of a three hour commitment “on the ground”, the National Emergency Medal award recipients needed to have spent quite a bit longer. At least we think, because the government website isn’t so clear. Here’s what it says: The minimum duration of service that a person is required to have completed to qualify is: • paid service on 14 days, including at least two days in the period beginning on 7 February and ending on 14 February 2009 • unpaid service on 7 days, including at least one day in the period beginning on 7 February and ending on 14 February 2009 Problem is, volunteers are only permitted to spend up to 72 hours in a disaster site – for their own safety. Inspector Ben Shepherd of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, told The Punch that in that amount of time volunteers in both Victoria and Queensland disaster sites had been exposed to the most severe conditions they’d ever experienced. For this reason, they were rotated on a very regular basis and usually given directions to return home to families and paid jobs, after a maximum of three to five days on site. As another Punch reader told us, some volunteers in the Queensland/Yasi disasters, chose to spend several days on each site. Clocking up five days here and five days there. Yet they still remained ineligible for the National Emergency Medal. Why? According to Inspector Shepherd volunteering organisations were overwhelmed by the energy and motivation in all three disaster sites. Commitment he describes as nothing less than selfless, given the situations they found themselves in: “It’s not just the sheer loss of human life. There were hundreds and hundreds of cattle and the broken, desolate towns. They all had an effect,” he said. As Milanda Rout explored in a very powerful recent piece for the Weekend Australian, that can have devastating long term impacts on the volunteers and their families. Even though all voluntary organisations we spoke to offer their volunteers extensive counseling and support programs. Bottom line is this: these volunteers deserve more. Starting with a national medal with clear and fair criteria, one that reflects not only the situations in which they found themselves, but also the capacity in which they worked and the time, that as volunteers, they could have realistically given to an incredibly important cause.
Justice for Rakib. Call an inquiry into his death on Nauru.
On May 11, 2016, Rakib Khan died. He was just 24 years old. A Bangladeshi refugee seeking protection due to his sexuality, Rakib had been kept in offshore detention on the tiny island nation of Nauru. His untimely death made headlines, but to this day, the cause of his death remains a mystery. For the last four years, his grieving family have searched for answers as to how this healthy young man died so suddenly. His mother, whose own health is failing, still does not know what killed her son. The Australian government has ignored calls for an inquest into how Rakib died. The Nauru government refuses to investigate, even after a forensic pathologist could not determine the young man’s cause of death. Now, a whistleblower has come forward with vital information about the quality of Rakib’s care in Nauru’s hospital. A nurse who worked there at the time of Khan’s death told BuzzFeed News of their concerns over his treatment by hospital doctors. “They didn’t take him as a serious case...The doctor just took his vitals and gave him Panadol,” said the nurse. Instead of running vital tests, staff sent Rakib back to the offshore detention facility. Rakib returned the next day in an ambulance, but by then it seems it was already too late. Rakib died as doctors prepared to medically evacuate him to Australia from Nauru. Under the heading “cause of death”, the autopsy report simply says: “UNASCERTAINED”. The Australian people deserve an explanation for this death that happened under our government’s watch. Rakib's mother deserves to know how her son died. Please join us to demand that our government call a parliamentary or senate enquiry into Rakib Khan's death.
We need Mango and Pamela to stay in Australia
On February 6th 2020, Mango and Pamela (Mango Prawech Limpichotipong and Mango Bannogsala Ubon Ratchathani) of Mango Thai Restaurant in Colac were informed they would not be granted their Visas and they would need to return to Thailand. Mango and Pamela have been running a successful and popular restaurant in Colac for several years and have become much loved and cared for members of our community. They employ local people, have become a part of our families and are very supportive of the local community. It is heartbreaking for the city of Colac and its surrounds to be faced with losing Mango and Pamela and the wonderful business they have created through determination and hard work. They have made Colac their home! Please support this petition to have their visa application reviewed and give us a chance to keep Mango and Pamela here with us. They are good people and deserve to keep living in the community they have helped and whom have embraced them.
Reunite the Emous-Bilsborrow family!
American citizen Christi-Ann Emous was thrilled when she was offered her dream job in Sydney on a temporary skills shortage work visa. In support of her career, she and her husband, Christopher Bilsborrow, sold their family home in Oregon, packed up all their worldly possessions and decided to relocate their beautiful young family to Australia, where Christi-Ann would be the family’s main breadwinner and Christopher their children’s primary carer. When Christopher’s visa was delayed, Christi-Ann travelled on with the children to get settled in Sydney before commencing her new job. In the intervening weeks, Australia shut its borders due to COVID-19, and the Australian government has so far refused to permit Christopher to be reunited with his wife and children on humanitarian grounds despite making exceptions for billionaires and rugby players. Christopher is more than happy to comply with all visa conditions and quarantine restrictions in order to come and care for his young children. Now Christi-Ann is in Sydney alone with two small children, a new job and no-one to help with childcare or setting up a home while she provides for the family financially. The children are distraught and don’t understand why their daddy can’t be with them. The Emous-Bsborrow family came here with a view to contribute to Australian society and be together as a family unit. They deserve a fair go. This situation is unnecessarily cruel, unfair, unjust and un-Australian. Refusing Christopher a visa serves no purpose but to harm his two innocent children. We call on the Australian government to The Australian government to find a way to reunite this family immediately.