5 Feb 2016
CEO of the Migration Council Australia (MCA) Ms Carla Wilshire expressed disappointment with the leaked draft document proposing sweeping changes to the Government’s humanitarian resettlement program.
Proposed changes outlined in the document include:
- An enforceable integration framework to assess migrants’ suitability for life in Australia;
- A revamped citizenship test and citizenship pledge;
- Creating stronger controls over access to permanent residency and citizenship;
- Enhanced access, use and protection of sensitive information to strengthen intelligence-led, risk-based decision making, from pre-visa stage through to post-citizenship conferral;
- Tougher screening of the additional 12,000 Syrian refugees that the Federal Government has committed to take.
The document states the reforms would “better align visa and citizenship decision-making with national security and community protection outcomes”.
“I would raise queries around the evidence base for many of the assertions reportedly made in the leaked document,” Ms Wilshire said.
Ms Wilshire said Australians should be proud of our humanitarian program and the contribution that refugees make to our society and economy.
“Viewing the humanitarian program only through a security lens is damaging, the process of radicalisation is highly complex and is not restricted to immigrant populations.”
“We already have robust processes around our humanitarian programme including security checks and a comprehensive system of settlement services.”
Ms Wilshire emphasised the need to be careful not to demonise and single out populations that have already suffered a great deal of trauma.
“One of the reasons that Australia has been so successful as a migration nation is that we have a citizenship model, becoming a citizen is an important part of fully committing to a new life and community,” Ms Wilshire said.
“Certainty is an important part of the psychological process of integration and removing a citizenship pathway would undermine the settlement process.”
MEDIA CONTACT: MCA CEO, Carla Wilshire 0409 363 888