On 3rd September a delegation of Ipswich health professionals and Shayne Neumann, federal member for Blair and shadow minister for immigration and border protection, met at Shayne's electoral office.
Our meeting was organised as a result of a community workshop organised and sponsored by ASRC with NGO partners, in July. In respect of policy, the delegation had one goal - to discuss with the minister the commitments of a new ALP government specifically with respect to three aspects of refugee policy they believed the most urgently in need of reform: restoring fair process; moving from detention to community processing, and the abolition of Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs).
Our second goal was to establish a basis for continuing dialogue between constituents and their elected representative on the subject of his portfolio responsibility. Some significant, and some positive, points were made by Shayne Neumann which included:
- A firm commitment to return the “90-day rule”, to move asylum seekers out of mandatory detention within 90 days, which would be a big step towards a fair and timely process;
- Shayne insisted that the items concerning improved processing in the party’s draft platform were more than aspirations, and were certain to be reaffirmed at the next policy conference in December 2018;
- He was unequivocal about abolishing TPVs and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas and granting permanent residency following assessment;
- On the subject of managing demand for resettlement places, he talked about the party’s undertaking to raise Australia’s humanitarian intake, to invest $450m over three years in UNHCR programs mainly in South East Asia, and to pursue regional efforts at the political level; and finally
- He was clear that legal redress and right of appeal would be available under changes to the processing regime.
We left with an open door, so it will be up to us to remain alert for future occasions to build a working relationship with our representative.
Thanks Shayne for your time,
Jane Cochrane, Sylvie Tourigny, Richard Vere & John Price