Australia Refugee Policy

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    Refugee Policy

  • Signing the UN Convention to the Status of Refugees

    Australia becomes a signatory to the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and a founding member of UNHCR’s Executive Committee.
  • Abolish the White Australia Policy

    The Whitlam Government abolishes the White Australia Policy.
  • Vitnamese refugees come

    Thousands of refugees entered Australia in the Vietam War.
  • The first Refugee Week

    The first ‘Refugee Week’ is celebrated in Australia.
  • National Integrated Settlement Strategy (NISS) setted up

    The National Integrated Settlement Strategy (NISS) is created to better coordinate the provision of migrant services.
  • Introduction of Mandatory Detention

    Mandatory detention for non-citizens who arrive in Australia without a visa is introduced.
  • Border Protection Bill introduces

    The Border Protection Bill introduced and provided the power to: remove any ship in the territorial waters of Australia
  • The government 'freezes' asylum seeker applications

    The Government ‘freezes’ asylum seeker applications from about 2000 Afghans, sparking riots and protests including hunger strikes and lip sewing.
  • The UN commnets Australia's detention centres

    The UN working group on Arbitrary Detention releases its report on Australia’s detention centres stating ‘one could reasonably assume that if public opinion were fully and specifically informed about the conditions to which human beings are being subjected in Australia and the negative consequences for the image of a democratic country, public opinion would change.’
  • Changes in the Migration Amendment Act

    The Migration Amendment Act 2005 becomes effective. While preserving the principle of mandatory detention, changes include the release of families with children into community detention arrangements and an extension of the immigration minister’s discretionary power to grant visas
  • Police control the Christmas Island Detention Centre

    The Australian Federal Police take control of a Christmas Island detention centre after a week of protests, rioting and escapes.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding with Afghanistan signs

    The Australian Government signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Afghanistan, permitting the involuntary repatriation of failed Afghan asylum-seekers back to Afghanistan, including unaccompanied minors.
  • The Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection) Bill 2011 introduced

    The Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection) Bill 2011 introduced. It aims to establish a formal administrative process for assessing the claims of persons who do not fit the Refugee Convention’s formal definition of a refugee but who would still be at grave risk of persecution, torture or death if returned to their country of origin.
  • the Migration Act changes

    Protests, hunger strikes and unrest in many detention centres across Australia. In response, the Immigration Minister announces changes to the Migration Act that would see a person convicted of any offence committed while in immigration detention (such as damage to Commonwealth property at a detention centre) fail the character test.
  • Deal with Malaysia

    The Australian Government announces that a transfer deal with Malaysia which will see 800 asylum seekers who enter Australia by boat sent to Malaysia in return for Australia resettling 4000 additional refugees from Malaysia over the next four years.
  • Jilia Gillard government changes the refugee determination system

    Government announces changes to the refugee determination system for asylum-seekers who arrive in excised territories in response to a High Court decision.
  • Signing Memorandum of Understanding

    Australia, Afghanistan and UNHCR sign Memorandum of Understanding allowing for failed Afghan asylum-seekers to be involuntarily returned home;