Fast-track rejection (of refugees) via fast-track process

June 24th, 2015  |  Published in Asylum; Refugees


“Ali” is a (hypothetical) Afghan asylum seeker with little English.

  • He needs to complete 62 pages of forms, answer 184 questions, and provide a  detailed statement of his refugee claims – in English, with 28 days notice.
  • He is unlikely to be able to manage this without legal assistance, says David Manne, executive director of Melbourne’s Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre (RILC); “Ali’s” failure appears to be the intended outcome of fast-track processing.
  • “Ali” is one of tens of thousands of asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat between 13 August 2012 (when the “no advantage” policy was introduced by the Labor government) and rejection1early 2014 (by which time the Coalition had ‘stopped the boats’, or at least stopped them entering Australian territory). These people, many of whom have been in limbo for more than two years, are currently being invited to apply for three-year Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) via “fast-track” processing.
  • Meanwhile, funding has been cut to organisations providing legal assistance. RILC, for example, has lost 80% of its funding for core client work, and David Manne, a lawyer, has been out and about, hat in hand, trying to raise funds.
  • Funding has also been cut for interpreters.
  • Such cuts are expected to save $100 million over the next four years.
  • The government website explaining how to lodge the TPV application is no fall-back. It is only in English, and its bureaucratese would challenge the comprehension of many native speakers.
  • Applicants need access to their identity documents, and also to the entry interviews conducted by immigration officials at the time of their arrival in Australia. Access requires an FOI (freedom of information) request. FOI can’t cope with the demand.
  • That is, one arm of officialdom is demanding applications within 28 days; another arm cannot provide information essential to applications (click here for more backstory on this impasse).

ali1“Ali” and his counterparts have a right to fair process. It seems clear they are being set up to fail. One way or another many/most will be rejected as refugees. They will then be eligible for  ‘removal’ back to whence they fled with as much haste as resistance from advocates, lawyers, and formal processes allow.

We must NOT allow the government to get away with fabrications about these people being fairly processed and found NOT to be “genuine refugees”. Enough is surely enough with brutal injustice passing as compassion for saving lives at sea.

Your comments are welcome…Joan Beckwith


Get free monthly emails about new blog posts

Leave your comment

Show the 'Share' buttons
Hide Buttons