Weekly Refugee Letter

Since 2018, a growing number of people have been making their voices heard on issues of refugee policy, by participating in a weekly letter-writing campaign.

Each week the Centre for a Compassionate Society will send you some text for a new letter urging the Australian government to adopt more humane policies towards refugees and asylum seekers. It will then take you only a few minutes to personalise it if you wish, and send it on to relevant politicians.

Send us an email here to let us know you’d like to join this campaign.

A Recent Letter

This week’s letter is addressed to the minister for Home Affairs. Clare.ONeil.MP@aph.gov.au

Dear Ms O’Neil,

I am a friend of the Centre for a Compassionate Society, which is based in the electorate of Melbourne. I live in the electorate of ***. We have been writing a letter to the federal government every week for more than 4 years, seeking humane treatment for refugees and asylum seekers on-shore and off-shore. We are copying this letter to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Immigration, and to our local parliamentarians.

Minister, we are still waiting for your government to distinguish itself from its predecessor in the area of refugee policy. It is time to draw a line under the cruel policy platform of successive coalition governments, and demonstrate that you are different in deed as well as word. We request an update on the following issues:

1. We were deeply disappointed that in your government’s first budget there was $150 million of new money for offshore processing of refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, but no money to improve the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Minister, the billions of dollars that the Australian government has already spent on off-shore processing are a scandalous misuse of taxpayer funds. Instead of requiring those refugees on Nauru and in PNG to suffer any longer while they continue their indefinite wait for offers of overseas resettlement, you could immediately end this financial and human rights travesty by allowing them all to come to Australia for permanent resettlement. 

2. We welcome your government’s promise to abolish Temporary Protection Visas and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas, and to allow the thousands of people currently holding these visas to settle here permanently. We are aware that this will be a significant administrative task, but we are also aware that these people have already lived in limbo for more than 10 years in Australia without the right to family reunion or travel. We request an update on the resources you are allocating to this task, and the progress of your Department towards visa allocation. 

3. Will your government draw a ‘red ring’ around those refugees who were previously in off-shore detention but who have begun to build networks and lives here in Australia? These people have suffered at the hands of Australian governments for more than 9 years, and must at last be given a genuine choice rather than be forced to uproot again. 

Yours sincerely,

Refugees and supporters outside the Park Hotel, Carlton, 2022