Open letter calls on Government to adopt Global Compact on Migration

The ASRC is proud to join 34 organisations across faiths, communities and social sectors call on the Australian government to adopt the Global Compact on Migration. By refusing to sign the compact the government turns away from constructive international efforts to support issues associated with rising people movement.

Open letter

4 December 2018
Dear representatives,

Why Australia must adopt the Global Compact on Migration (GCM): A public letter to our parliamentarians

We, the leaders and representatives of faith groups, migrant communities, peak bodies, and international NGOs, write to express our disappointment at our government’s decision to withdraw from the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), and urge them to reconsider.

As the GCM is a non-binding instrument, any Australian government will have a choice to determine how to implement the Compact in line with national priorities and laws. Adopting the Compact will not undermine Australia’s ability to determine migration policy.

So why, we ask, is the government so intent on withdrawing?

The success of modern Australia is synonymous with our multicultural story. We have a long track record of welcoming migrants and refugees into this country. We do so proudly and to the effect of untold social, cultural, and economic benefits for all Australians.

Voters across Australia are calling for migration policy that reflects and reaffirms these values and this history. In choosing to withdraw from the GCM, we question whether the government has heard the community’s unequivocal call for welcoming migrants and refugees and treating them with dignity and respect.

The GCM itself is a historic development in the global governance of migration and withdrawing is a significant missed opportunity whose ramifications will be felt for years to come.

It is the first time that the world’s nations have come together in agreement on frameworks, principles, and concrete actions to deal with the growing complexity and scale of human mobility.

The Asia-Pacific region is at the forefront of this complexity. Common understandings, shared responsibilities, and unity of purpose are vital in order for all countries to promote safe, orderly sustainable, and welcoming policies on migration in decades to come.

The GCM provides an obvious platform for such cooperation and Australia could bring so much to the table. We have a wealth of experience running one of the largest and most successful migration
and humanitarian programs in the world.

Over 180 countries have agreed to adopt the GCM, including significant partners – Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand – in the region, and so the potential for Australia to share insights is enormous.

Conversely, sticking with the current government’s decision will leave us isolated in the region, and create a leadership vacuum that others will fill. No country can manage migration on its own.

Worse still we find ourselves in the unlikely company of populist, anti-immigration governments including the United States, Hungary, and Austria.

We must ask ourselves whether this is the kind of country we are or want to be.

List of signatories (in alphabetical order):

  • Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)
  • Act for Peace
  • Amnesty International Australia
  • Asylum Seekers Centre
  • Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
  • Australian Association of Social Workers
  • Australian Churches Refugees Taskforce (ACRT)
  • Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)
  • Australian National Committee on Refugee Women (ANCORW)
  • Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project
  • Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA)
  • Catholic Mission
  • Caritas Australia
  • Common Grace
  • End Child Detention Coalition (ECDC)
  • Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia (FECCA)
  • Hazara Women of Australia
  • International Detention Coalition (IDC)
  • Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia
  • Jesuit Social Services
  • Justice for Refugees SA
  • Love Makes A Way
  • Pacific Focal Point GCM, Pacific Civil Society
  • Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS)
  • Refugee Council of Australia
  • Refugee Nurses of Australia
  • Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) Australia (National)
  • Settlement Services International (SSI)
  • Social Responsibilities Committee, Anglican Church of South Queensland
  • St Francis Social Services (House of Welcome)
  • St Vincent De Paul Society National Council
  • UNICEF Australia
  • Uniting Church Assembly in Australia
  • UNSW Forced Migration Research Network
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