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Developments in Australian refugee law and policy: the Abbott and Turnbull Coalition governments (2013-2016)

18 Sep 2017

The Liberal Party of Australia, in coalition with The Nationals (together, the Coalition), won the 2013 federal election, defeating the Australian Labor Party (ALP) which had been in power for six years since December 2007. Tony Abbott was duly sworn in as Australia’s 28th Prime Minister on 18 September 2013.

The key asylum and refugee policies that the Coalition took to the 2013 election included:

• restoring Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) and ensuring no permanent protection visas are issued to any of the unauthorised maritime arrivals in Australia who are awaiting a decision on their application

• establishing Operation Sovereign Borders, bringing together fifteen departments and agencies under a single a military-led operational command

• instructing Border Protection Command to turn back boats where it is safe to do so

• withdrawing taxpayer funded immigration assistance to prepare asylum claims under the Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS) for those who arrive without a visa

• denying refugee status for those who are reasonably believed to have deliberately discarded or destroyed their identity documentation

• establishing a new fast track assessment and removal process to have protection claims assessed and immigration status resolved as quickly as possible and

• expanding the offshore processing capacity in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Nauru

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