Onshore Detention

@HomeSafeWithUs– August 2020

There is real concern that the federal government is planning to transfer detainees to Christmas Island and possibly transfer people held in the eastern states to Yongah Hill in Western Australia.

The @HomeSafeWithUs initiative proposes placement in the community as an alternative, and we are keen to promote this widely in the community as a viable and reasonable possibility.

What you can do

Read the joint media releases by ARAN and the Refugee Advocacy Network:
Across Australia, home hosts say “beds are ready” for refugees (24 August 2020)
Release refugeesto stay @homesafelywithus (9 August 2020)

These call on the government to take the common sense option to release refugees and asylum seekers held in detention to the support of their families and friends in the community.

The @HomeSafeWithUs initiative is offered as a response to overcrowding and the risk of Covid-19 cluster outbreaks in immigration detention facilities and Alternative Places of Detention (APODs).

Please note: at this stage this is a proposal which would provide an alternative to detention, if the federal government decided to do the sensible and humane thing and release refugees from detention.

How you can get involved

• We invite your group to support this initiative by joining the @HomeSafeWithUs coalition. Confirm this by email; send it to austrefugeenetwork@gmail.com

• We know that a lot of people are willing to provide a room to support a refugee released from detention. Please email us at austrefugeenetwork@gmail.com for more information if you can assist with providing accommodation.

The @HomeSafeWithUs Coalition
Australian Refugee Action Network
Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project
Grandmothers for Refugees
Hunter Asylum Seeker Advocacy
RAC Canberra
RAC Sydney
RAR Bendigo
Refugee Action Coalition Sydney
Refugee Advocacy Network
Rural Australians for Refugees
Stop The Shame
Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support TASS
Tasmanian Refugee Rights Action Group
Tassie Nannas
(… as at 11 August 2020)

The cost of the Australian immigration detention regime

Read these useful reports:

COVID-19 and the relentless harms of Australia’s punitive immigration detention regime. (Sage Journals: Anthea Vogl, Caroline Fleay, Claire Loughnan, Philomena Murray, Sara Dehm) 1 August 2020

Nicholson B, New Zealand to take 150 asylum seekers from Australia
(The Australian – paywall 10 February 2013)

Seven Years On: An Overview of Australia’s Offshore Processing Policies
(Refugee Council of Australia) July 2020

At-What-Cost-report 2019
(Asylum Seeker Resource Centre)

Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Immigration Detention Network
Final Report
. March 2012. ISBN 978-1-74229-611-1, Chapter 7 Alternatives.

Factsheet Cost of Australia’s asylum and refugee policy
(Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law) May 2020

Immigration Detention and Commonwealth Statistics Summary
Australia Border Force 31 May 2020

Long Term detention
The average time spent in immigration in detention is around 500 days – in Canada it is only around 12 days. Some people spend years in detention.

Sr. Elizabeth explains the situation of a man who has spent 11 long years in Australian immigration detention, and there is still no plan for his release.
“I got to know A when I was working at Curtin Detention Centre in 2012.

Shockingly, he still remains in detention, although he has been approved as a refugee and has no upheld convictions. Now, after more than 11 years, he fears he will be sent back to the notorious Christmas Island Detention Centre, which has just been re-opened.

I have joined his friends and supporters, including his legal team, and Rural Australians for Refugees, to call for Mr Peter Dutton MP to release him and grant his SHEV visa immediately.

Please sign and share our petition which will mean so much for A. After so long, he is very much in need of our mercy. Thanks very much and Peace.”
Sr. Elizabeth Young RSM.


Australia’s onshore immigration detention ‘unlike any other liberal democracy’: Edward Santow. Australian Human Rights Commission. June 18, 2019

The AHRC latest report examines risk management in detention

There have been multiple incidents, alleged acts of violence, and deaths inside the network of onshore detention centres. The report found Australia is also now holding people for longer – an average of around 500 days, which Santow said “should not be considered acceptable”. Guardian Australia. 18 June 2019

photo: AHRC Report June 2019