Labor’s rushed and senseless Direction 110 will cause harm to families and communities


Labor’s new Ministerial Direction 110 is the latest in a string of rushed and senseless decisions that will harm refugees, people seeking asylum, families and communities. The new direction replaces Direction 99 and serves as critical guidance for decision-making authorities who are weighing up whether to refuse or cancel people’s visas.

Under pressure from Peter Dutton, Labor’s knee-jerk legislation will come into effect on June 21. It will increase the risk of refugees being sent back to persecution and potential harm, permanent family separation and being excluded from communities where they’ve spent decades of their lives, including their formative years. 

Direction 110 also amends clauses in the existing Direction 99 about how decision makers consider the length of time a person has spent in Australia, including whether a person has lived in Australia since they were a child.

Direction 110 was announced just hours after a national coalition of 40 legal, civil society and human rights groups publicly condemned any further dismantling of safeguards which ensure fair consideration of family impact and time spent in Australia before decisions are made that may cause permanent family separation and the forced return of people to persecution and even death. 

In their public statement of concern, the Visa Cancellations Working Group said visa cancellation has “life-changing consequences” and that “everyone deserves to have their circumstances fully and independently considered”.

Direction 99 is a near-identical replica of Direction 90 introduced by the Coalition in 2021, which also required decision-makers to consider a person’s connection to the Australian community before a visa can be cancelled or refused.

Quotes attributable to:

Hannah Dickinson, ASRC’s Principal Solicitor
“The Albanese Government’s response in the face of misleading and damaging public commentary is reactive, ill-considered, and deeply damaging. Decisions under these directions will expose people and their families to unimaginable harm: it is appropriate and necessary that their circumstances be taken into account, and that due care is exercised in law-making.”

“The new Direction is out of step with community expectations. It disregards the concerns of family violence experts that directions like these expose victim-survivors to further harm. And it jeopardises the integrity of critical decisions that irreversibly impact families and communities.”

Betia Shakiba, human rights advocate from Iran:
“It is disheartening to witness this cycle where the media’s portrayal of refugees directly influences decisions and policies that overlook people’s family connections and long-standing ties to Australia.”


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