Since 1945, Australia has played a major role in providing protection and opportunities for refugees – both by resettling people in need from overseas, and by enabling people seeking asylum to apply for protection in Australia. Providing a welcoming, secure and respectful environment for refugees results in greater social and economic benefits for everyone and a stronger, more cohesive Australia. Yet, many of Australia’s current refugee policies are out of step with community values of fairness and decency, fall short of Australia’s international obligations, and are not contributing to a sustainable, humane response to refugees globally.

The Kaldor Centre Principles for Australian Refugee Policy are designed to serve as a stable foundation for policymaking in this area. They are grounded in evidence-based research and are informed by good practices from other countries, as well as from Australia’s past. They provide concrete examples of how, and why, Australia can develop a more humane, sustainable and manageable approach to protection which simultaneously benefits refugees, people seeking asylum and the Australian community.

The principles have been developed with the objectives of ensuring Australia’s compliance with its obligations under international law – including those set out in the 1951 Refugee Convention, its 1967 Protocol and international human rights treaties – and respect for the inherent human dignity of everyone who is displaced and in search of protection.

By committing to the following principles, Australia could create a more sustainable and effective refugee policy and advance its aspirations for a more fair and decent society.

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