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Labor for Refugees is a grassroots movement working within the ALP since 2001 to secure a refugee policy which is decent and humane, and aligned with our commitments to the United Nations. The issue of how one treats vulnerable refugees and people seeking asylum is such an important one that it is bigger than the factions. Our members come from across the Party and from Unions. 

Labor for Refugees stands for a Labor policy and practice in which:

  1. All asylum seekers are treated with compassion, justice and in accordance with Australia’s international obligations.

  2. People seeking asylum in Australia have the right to have their status as refugees assessed on Australian soil, under the Australian legal system.

  3. People seeking asylum are accommodated in government-run and urban-based reception centres. Once a formal application for refugee status has been made and security, health and identity checks are complete, people seeking asylum are free to move out of reception centres and to stay in supportive communities. The time in the reception centre should not exceed 30 days without judicial review and the right of appeal.

  4. People in Indonesia seeking to come to Australia for asylum can apply in Indonesia and have their application assessed in a timely manner. If they are found to be refugees, they can be resettled safely under a regional resettlement program in which Australia plays a key role.


Over successive Labor Conferences, State and Federal, we have developed campaigns and lobbied rank and file ALP members and Labor politicians to support our refugee policies.  Labor’s Platform states: Labor believes in dealing with the complex issue of those seeking Australia’s protection by giving expression to the values of compassion, fairness and generosity. We continue to argue strongly for additions and amendments to the policy to give real effect to this statement of belief.


Currently, we are lobbying Labor’s leadership to be more vocal and to publicly demand that the Coalition closes offshore and onshore Detention Centres and APODs and immediately releases all refugees and people seeking asylum into safe community accommodation to ensure their health and safety, particularly in the face of the current pandemic. A motion asking Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese to do just this was overwhelmingly carried at a recent Young Labor Left/Labor for Refugees Zoom meeting.


We’ve asked Labor for Refugees members to support this motion, by participating in our letter-writing campaign addressed to all Caucus members. Our latest newsletter, which can be found on our website, has all the details of this campaign.


The next important issue for us is to prepare for this year’s National Conference to be held on the 10-12 December in Canberra.  Our aim is to ensure that the hard-won refugee policies developed over decades, will not be discarded in the interests of simplifying our Party’s Platform.  We rely on NSW Left members to support us and help protect those important refugee policies which Labor Delegates have adopted over successive conferences and assist us to keep fighting to have those hell-holes called offshore and onshore Immigration Detention Centres, permanently closed.


To become involved and join Labor for Refugees (membership is free), please go to our website:

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