Labor's policy on asylum seekers

Labor’s policy on asylum seekers is clear – we will never let the people smugglers back in business.

Every time the Liberals lie about Labor’s strong position on border protection, they are playing into the hands of the people smugglers and criminal syndicates who prey on the lives of vulnerable people.

Labor believes in strong borders, offshore processing, regional resettlement, and turnbacks when safe to do so because we know it saves lives at sea. This is the policy Labor took to the last Federal Election and remains our policy.

Labor’s resolve on this issue is absolute – the way to Australia through irregular means by boat is closed, and it will remain so under Labor.

Manus Island and Nauru were set up as temporary regional processing centres but have become places of indefinite detention because of the out-of-touch Liberal Government’s failure to negotiate other third country resettlement options.
Labor will not do anything to provide the people smugglers with a market to exploit vulnerable people. As such, bringing people from offshore regional processing centres to Australia is not an option.

The Liberal Government’s failure to negotiate other third country resettlement options and his continued incompetence in managing his portfolio has meant genuine refugees have languished in indefinite detention. Much more needs to be done to resettle eligible refugees in other third countries.

Labor has called on the Liberal Government to accept New Zealand's offer to resettle eligible refugees from Manus and Nauru and negotiate conditions similar to the US refugee resettlement agreement to prevent people smugglers exploiting vulnerable people.
If the Government was able to negotiate conditions for the US deal, they should be able to negotiate them for any deal with NZ. Labor has repeatedly called on the Liberal Government to release the details of the US refugee resettlement agreement.

Labor’s resolve to prevent deaths at sea is matched by a commitment to a humane and compassionate approach to asylum seekers which enables refugees to progress their claims safely and securely.

This is why Labor took commitments to the last Federal Election including:

  • Increasing Australia’s annual humanitarian intake of refugees to 27,000 by 2025 to address the global humanitarian crisis;
  • Providing $450 million in funding over three years to support the important work of the UNHCR both globally and in South East Asia and the Pacific;
  • Appointing an independent children’s advocate to represent the interests of children seeking asylum and legislating to impose mandatory reporting of child abuse;
  • Reintroducing the ‘90 day rule’ into the Migration Act, in addition to references to the UN Refugees Convention;
  • Reinstating access to the Refugee Review Tribunal and abolish the IAA established by the Abbott Government; and
  • Abolishing Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) which keep people in a permanent state of limbo and placing those found to be genuine refugees on permanent protection visas.