Refugee Council of Australia Appeal –
Do you stand for a humane immigration policy? Then we need your help more than ever.
You may have heard the rumour but it is now official; the Australian Government has stripped us of our core funding in the latest Federal Budget. When Scott Morrison was Immigration Minister, he blocked the funding allocated to the Refugee Council in last year’s Budget but this year Immigration Minister Dutton has permanently removed it. In fact he emphasised the point a number of times in the Budget papers to make sure it wasn’t missed.
Of course we are greatly disappointed. But it was not unexpected. The current government has been punitive against any voice that criticises it, and particularly punitive to organisations who are working to support the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
Yet, we are determined not to be silenced. Just last week you may have seen me in the media calling the Government to account on its appalling approach to the Rohingya asylum seekers floating with limited food and water in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. We also spoke out against the policy perversity of the deal to send vulnerable refugees to Cambodia. The Abbott Government is paying Cambodia $40 million to take just four registered refugees so far. It’s morally bankrupt and, at this rate per head, would be enough to send the country bankrupt.
Australia is wasting billions of dollars punishing vulnerable refugees. In the same Budget in which the Government crowed about saving $140,000 in funding to the Refugee Council, it allocated another $3.2 billion to detention and compliance policies for asylum seekers who arrived by boat.
Importantly too, we’ve been speaking in the media in recent days – following a lot of work behind the scenes – on encouraging the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual abuse to look at the mounting allegations of systemic abuse of children in detention. It’s distressing that despite the many, many allegations, there has been no proper investigations, no charges laid and no prosecutions. We strongly believe this is a matter the Royal Commission needs to cover and will be putting our case in coming weeks.
Speaking out on these issues is not easy and I don’t relish it – but knowing I have the support of people like you, helps us all here to continue to stand up for what is right and just.
It’s so important we continue to do this work and amplify the voice of fair minded and compassionate Australians on these vital issues. This week I’m in Canberra meeting with our political leaders to pursue more humane and sustainable policies. It’s vital that the people who represent us in Parliament are held accountable for the policies they are responsible for implementing.
If you are able, please help us to bring the voice of refugees and asylum seekers to decision makers by supporting us financially – every donation makes a huge difference to a small organisation like ours.
We thank you greatly for the support you are able to provide.
With thanks, Paul Power, Chief Executive Officer, RCOA
Refugee Council of Australia, Suite 4A6, 410 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010