Having our say on Australia’s refugee intake (43 critical voices)

January 29th, 2015  |  Published in Asylum; Refugees


Australia’s future refugee intake is of vital concern in a political climate of increasing contempt for human rights. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) invited submissions and this post is a response to that invitation. The 42 names (in addition to my own) on the submission came from a Facebook post inviting people to add their names. That post was ‘shared’ 41 times, so additional independent submissions may also have been generated.

With thanks to all contributors, I will post any response and outcomes as they become available…Joan Beckwith.



From: Dr Joan Beckwith
26 January 2015
To: Assistant Secretary, Humanitarian Policy Branch
Department of Immigration and Border Protection
PO Box 25


Submission to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection

As a member of the Australian public, and hence “invited to provide views on…Australia’s [future] Humanitarian Programme” (p.3, see NOTE*), I have three points to make:

  1. Australia cannot currently claim to have “a proud record” of resettling refugees (p.12). In 2013 – 14, a total of 13,768 visas were granted under the refugee1Humanitarian Programme (p.10). At the end of 2013, UNHCR estimated 51.2 million people were displaced worldwide “as a result of persecution, conflict, generalised violence or human rights violations” (p.5).
    In other words, Australia offered visas to fractionally more than one person for every 4000 in need. This is poor.
  2. The “Refocusing [of] the Programme” in 2013 – 14 prioritised “people overseas entering as part of a planned process” (the offshore component) and, since September 2013, the onshore component has been “reserved for people who have arrived legally (sic)” (p.3), thus summarily excluding those who arrive by boat.
    This major ‘refocus’ is unjust and, introduced as it was between ‘consultations’, also demonstrates the tokenistic nature of the consultation process. (I make my points for the record.)
  3. The “refocusing” rests on invalid use of the terms “legal” and “illegal”
    Under international law, asylum seekers, no matter their mode of arrival, are not illegal. References to them as such (on pp. 3, 4, & 8, for example) are invalid, and cannot therefore be used to justify their exclusion from permanent resettlement and family reunion.

As a member of the Australian public, I emphatically object to current inhumane treatment of asylum seekers, and totally oppose their exclusion from permanent protection on the basis of mode of transport.

There are currently thousands of men, women, and children on the mainland and in offshore detention who need permanent visas. Until they are granted, there is no basis to be “proud” of our record.


Joan Beckwith, PhD

(*NOTE: page numbers refer to the DIBP invitation to submissions at, but link no longer available when checked in January 2021)


The following 42 people have also asked to have their names added as signatories to this submission:

  1. Gwen Challenger-Scotman
  2. Neil Blenkiron
  3. Joanne Sunderland
  4. Josie Hattingh
  5. Sylvia May
  6. Simone Perkin
  7. Di Clifford
  8. Tony Canning
  9. Katy B Plummer
  10. Alison J Standing
  11. Gail Gould
  12. Lynn C Merry
  13. Judith Westwoodrefugee5
  14. Ramiro Moyano
  15. Liesl Pollak
  16. Anne Dillon
  17. Kathryn Bates
  18. Diana Langley
  19. Yanette Hansen
  20. Wendy Jackson Millo
  21. Bruno Menage
  22. Linda Sutherland
  23. Samantha Grant
  24. Michelle Hudson
  25. Karen Knibbs
  26. Meredith Nelson
  27. Cath Connor
  28. David William Parr
  29. Georgina Ogilvie
  30. Jo Biggs
  31. Susie Jones
  32. Linda Simpson
  33. Jane Dunn
  34. Lorene Stewart
  35. Alicia Clifford
  36. Anne O’Mahony
  37. Robyn Mcintyre
  38. Mandy Shamin
  39. Tricie McGann
  40. Julie-Anne O’Donoghue
  41. George Baumann
  42. Peter Charles Essex-Clark

as (21)

Scroll down to leave your comments…always valued…Joan Beckwith

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2 comments on “Having our say on Australia’s refugee intake (43 critical voices)”

  1. Tricie McGann says:

    Thank you for your work, Joan.

    • Pleased to have done it, Tricie McGann, and very happy to have had so many add their names…Joan Beckwith.

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