Ballina Region for Refugees is lobbying candidates in the electorate of Richmond for the right of refugees to settle safely in Australia and become permanent citizens.
We are asking candidates if they are elected, to repeal Temporary Protection Visas and make it easier for refugees to settle in Australia with their families.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Contact the candidates standing for election in Richmond by meeting with them face to face, by phone and sending emails or letters.
Draft letter or email (feel free to copy and paste)
Candidate's name and address
I am writing to express my concern about Australia’s treatment of refugees. One of the broken parts of our system is the Temporary Protection Visa.
Temporary Protection Visas must be repealed.
Temporary Protection Visas prevent refugees from building a healthy life in Australia and reuniting with their families. Permanently settling refugees and enabling them to reunite with their families has been shown to be the most effective way of building a cohesive and economically viable society.
Reference: Refugee Council of Australia https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Priority-areas-for-2022.pdf
To inform my vote can you send me information about your policies in relation to:
The Repeal of the temporary protection system (TPV) and immediate transfer of temporary protection visas to permanent visas.
Making family reunion spaces available for TPV and Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) holders who have been separated (most of whom have been for a decade or more).
Thank you for taking the time to consider my concerns as your constituent.
I eagerly await your reply.
(Your signature, name and contact details)
To personalise your letter, you can:
1. Include a personal experience that made you want to speak up on the issue
2. Highlight a local connection to the issue
3. Include relevant facts and figures
4. Refer to a recent news item about the issue
5. Make sure you follow up if you have not received a response, preferably by phone.
Phone a candidate - Tips
Tell them your name and where you live
You will probably speak to one of their staff. Be respectful, at the same time tell them exactly how you feel.
Use the words at the beginning of the letter to clearly state your concern.
Ask questions about what the candidate’s position is, and if supportive what they are going to do about it.
Offer to send them more information.
If you are not confident calling in work hours, call after work and leave a voicemail message.
Australia has found more than 19,000 people to be in need of refugee protection but has granted them only temporary visas (Temporary Protection Visas or TPVs, and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas or SHEVs). This bars them from ever becoming Australian citizens and reuniting with their families. They need to re-apply for protection after three or five years and engage in a full reassessment of their refugee needs, putting a significant and unnecessary burden on the already stretched resources of the Department of Home Affairs. The reassessment process also further harms people as they have to re-live their trauma repeatedly, hampering their ability to settle and move on. Around 2,400 people are still waiting for a decision on their first application (submitted at least 4½ years ago) and another 6,500 are waiting for decisions on subsequent protection visas.
Refugees from Afghanistan and Myanmar, places where the Government has acknowledged people cannot safely return, are included in those granted only temporary protection.
The current policy has a theoretical pathway to permanency which, in practice, few refugees can complete. Even if current legislation is not repealed, the Australian Government can reform the visa pathway requirements to enable refugees on temporary visas to access permanent options.
This can be done by amending the existing Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa to create a stream for TPV and SHEV holders who have demonstrated a commitment and contribution to the Australian economy and society, so they can live and work in Australia permanently. This would be similar to the recent amendment to the Subclass 189 visa to meet the requirements of New Zealand citizens and Hong Kong and British National Overseas passport holders with four years’ residency in Australia.