An FAQ For Kevin Rudd’s Resettlement Plan

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Regional Settlement Arrangement – What have Papua New Guinea and Australia agreed to?

Under the new agreement signed with Papua New Guinea (PNG) on 19 July 2013 – the Regional Settlement Arrangement – unauthorised maritime arrivals will be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment and if found to be a refugee will be settled there.

From July 19 – no matter where an asylum seeker arrives in Australia by boat – they are subject to transfer to Papua New Guinea and if they are found to be a genuine refugee, they will be permanently settled in PNG.

People found not to be refugees may be returned to their home country or a country where they had a right of residence, or held in a transit facility.

There is no limit to the numbers that may be transferred or settled.

These changes will send the clearest possible message that coming to Australia by boat is not the way to gain Australian residency.

When will this arrangement begin?

Immediately. Australia will work with PNG to expand the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, as well as explore the construction of other regional processing centres in Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea has also agreed to take immediate steps to withdraw its reservations to the Refugees Convention, with respect to people transferred by Australia to PNG under this new arrangement.

The arrangement also allows for other countries (including Pacific Island states) to participate in similar arrangements in the future.

Will children be transferred?

Everyone who arrives after the announcement will be transferred once health checks are complete and appropriate accommodation is available. Children or family groups will not be exempted from transfer.
Exempting them would simply encourage people smugglers to put children on boats to Australia.

What about unaccompanied minors?

It will take longer for appropriate accommodation to become available for unaccompanied minors but once appropriate processing facilities are identified transfers can begin. While there are no blanket or broad exemptions to transfer to a regional processing country, Australia recognises that unaccompanied minors have particular guardianship and welfare requirements that need to be met.

Australian authorities will be working closely with their PNG counterparts to develop a framework of arrangements to cater for the needs of unaccompanied minors once they are transferred to PNG.

And what if an unaccompanied minor’s relatives a

re already in Australia? Is it any different if the relatives already have a permanent visa?

It will not make a difference if unaccompanied minor has family in Australia. Everyone who arrives after the announcement will be transferred once health checks are complete and appropriate accommodation is available.

If anyone – including unaccompanied minors or their family members in Australia – undertakes to bypass proper migration pathways and instead pay people smugglers for a boat trip to Australia, they will be liable under the Migration Act for transfer from Australia to a regional processing country.

Unaccompanied minors are no exception to this established process.

Will children be settled in PNG?

The Australian Government, in partnership with the PNG Government, will support settlement services for those with refugee status. This includes children and their families. Unaccompanied minors will be settled as safe and appropriate accommodation and services are identified.

What happens to pregnant women?

The default position is that everyone who arrives after the announcement will be transferred once health checks are complete and appropriate accommodation is available. There will be no blanket exemptions for children or family groups – including pregnant women. Appropriate arrangements will be available for children and families in PNG.

What will happen if asylum seekers make it to the m

ainland? Will they still be liable to be transferred to PNG under these arrangements?

Recent amendments to the Migration Act now mean that mainland boat arrivals are treated the same as those who arrive at excised offshore places.

What about those people who arrived before the announcement?

People who arrived before the announcement will not be subject to the new settlement arrangements in PNG. However, anyone who arrived after 13 August 2012 can still be transferred to a regional processing country to have their claims assessed.

Is the government still committed to the increased humanitarian program intake of 20 000?

Yes. Australia’s humanitarian program has increased to 20 000 places a year. This is the largest increase to Australia’s humanitarian intake in 30 years.

Will people transferred to the new centres be subject to the same processing arrangements as those on Manus Island?

Yes. Refugee status determinations will be made by PNG under PNG law.

What will happen to those people found not to be refugees?

Those who are found not to be refugees will be expected to retur

n to their home country or to a country where they have right of residence.

How many people can be transferred to PNG under the new arrangements?

There is no maximum number.

Does the ‘no advantage’ principle still apply? Will those who are not being transferred still have to wait years for a visa?

The government will still apply the principle of ‘no advantage’. This is an important element of a regional framework to ensure that any incentives to take dangerous boat journeys to Australia are significantly diminished, while offering increased opportunities for resettlement via regular pathways through Australia’s humanitarian program.

Is this legal?

The government is confident that all actions that are taken to implement this policy are in full compliance with the law.

Are these arrangements consistent with Australia’s international obligations?

We will implement these arrangements in a manner that is consistent with our international obligations.
Those transferred and accommodated in PNG will be treated with dignity and respect and in accordance with human rights standards.


(Source: Australian Government. Download PDF here)

4 thoughts on “An FAQ For Kevin Rudd’s Resettlement Plan

  1. The PNG PM obviously thinks this is OK, with the sweetener of more aid for hospitals and universities. But … what about the real people?
    Thousands of aliens! Alien in culture. Alien in religion [mostly]. Alien in every way except their humanity and their need.
    PNG is fully populated. Where will the aliens be settled? What will be their citizenship? Visa status?
    PNG doesn’t have enough paid employment now, so what to do with landless aliens? Who will support them? No Social Security system for the citizens, so what about all of these newcomers?
    Answers please, Mr O’Neill and maybe Mr Rudd.
    Good politics in Australia, but let us think of the implications.
    One of the ‘vox pops’ on ABC TV last night summarised it well, but unfortunately I didn’t write his four points down. Did anyone?
    Emmanuel, please lets have lots of opinion from PNG thinkers on this most dramatic influence that has hit PNG since Independence.

  2. Wanem nau? If the asylum seekers are going to be settled in PNG, will they receive the Australian benefits? What about the rest of the country? Will they share the same benefits?

  3. The signing of the agreement for Asylum seekers to be resettled in PNG between PNG and Australia Prime Ministers is flawed, criminal in nature and did not follow or honour the principles of a mutually agreed cooperation between the two countries. I want all Australian Public and PNG to know that, Australian Officials smuggled an Australian crafted document which is now an agreement between the two countries in which our PM signed the documents in the absence of our top advisors behind closed doors. If it is in the best interest of Australia and PNG and a transparent deal benefitting both countries, then this document would have been signed during the meeting in Parliament in the presence of all PNG Government Ministers and Governors including our top bureaucrats present during the bilateral meeting which is normal practise in any bilateral meetings internationally between two states. To date no one knows what is in this document that was signed. The documents was smuggled in because PNG’s top advisors refused to entertain Australia’s proposal as the document itself was encroaching into sovereignty issues and has constitutional implications on it.
    The agreement has a lot of implications including social and financial costs that PNG will be prepared to bear. Australia spent $2.5 billion on Asylum seekers in 2013 which is one quarter of PNGs annual national budget. Now PNG will spend that money, because Australia is cutting costs by sending Refugees away.
    The video also containing the footage broadcasted on Friday night was not taken by any of the media that covered the Rudds visit to PNG, but by those who were present in the closed door meeting which is by Australian officials which was not released after one week of the visit to PNG when Kevin Rudd returned to Australia for him to make this announcement.
    We should question why the Chief of staff is in the thick of all this discussions and not the Department of Foreign Affairs and Immigration top officials who were locked out of the deal that Issac Luapri spearheaded which he sold the country to the Australians.
    In his statement in Parliament, Kevin Rudd mentioned that Labour Party will continue to change its policy on the handling of the Asylum seekers, which reflected the closed door discussions that only both Prime Ministers were preview to.
    We must know that PNG has given its sovereignty away to Australia and we are being re- colonised. Papua New Guinea has no contribution to this so called agreement which is portrayed as a joint agreement by PNG and Australia. Before any joint agreement is signed, both countries officials will jointly draft the document which is normal practise and must be agreed to before leaders signed, this did not happen in this case. Papua New Guinea must know that the agreement was pushed and shoved by Australian officials aided by our chief of staff for PNG PM to sign and agreed to.
    Papua New Guinean citizens must rise up against this act of bullying and greedy tact used by Australia to facilitate for Kevin Rudd and his Labour Party to remain in Power.
    PNG’s Opposition Government has every valid reason to challenge this case in court for the sake of all right thinking Papua New Guineans.
    The document that was signed also have a clause forcing PNG to withdraw our reservations to 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.
    Why is it that our media and newspapers did not have any news to tell the world about PNG side of the story, when it was breaking news all over Australia on Friday evening, there was simply no coverage to report on as the whole issue was covered by Australia government media in the closed door, tucked away and publicised widely in Australia making PNG look, stunt, surprised, lost for words and stupid after all the commotion died down on Rudds visit. Kevin Rudd made it look like a new and changing policy for Labour Party but it was all recorded and kept away in secret until he feel was right time to publish it as fresh policy.
    We are looking at about 15,000 refugees coming in the next few months.
    PNG nationals, the refugees will live amongst us, you will now compete fore very basic services with the new influx of people, our mothers will continue to die, in the rural areas whilst giving birth, our people will carry bags of coffee and walk the most strenuous journey to the nearest town to sell, we will always live like this whilst our government will spend millions of kina at the interest of Australia to feed, shelter and give better lives to non-citizens of this country.
    Most of these people are economic migrants; many will be enjoying the proceeds of the LNG gas projects, at the expense of our people if resettled here.
    The Manus centre is a joke, as to date, Australia has not even paid one Dollar on the island since it was re-opened again. It is all at the expense of PNG Government. We will continue to pay for the cost at the expense of our population who are struggling to make ends meet.

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