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States of refuge: Access to health, housing and education for people seeking asylum and refugees in Australia

2 Jul 2018

The aim of this report is to cut through that seeming impasse at the federal level by showing the ways in which state and territory governments might safeguard some of the rights of people seeking asylum and refugees. Over what has been nearly a year’s worth of research, RAP found that states and territories can have significant impact in certain key areas affecting people seeking asylum.

Every state and territory possesses the power to legislate with regard to matters including housing, health and education – the areas focused on in this report. In the face of a Commonwealth government apparently intending to deny any level of dignity to a profoundly vulnerable community, states and territories are empowered to intervene to ensure at least basic needs are being met.

There is no rational basis for asylum seekers’ rights to health, housing and education to be respected differently across the different states and territories. It seems capricious that a person seeking asylum in one state may have access to housing rights, while they are denied to another person in similar circumstances who happens to live in another state.

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