Opinion pieces


Researcher postcard: Are would-be new Americans part of Trump’s ‘new American moment’?

Dr Claire Higgins

On Tuesday night in Washington DC, the President of the United States delivered his first report on the ‘State of the Union’. The nation, President Donald Trump said, is ‘compassionate’, and does ‘more than any other country’ to help those in need around the world. Yet on immigration and refugee policy, the Trump administration’s ‘America first’ approach is harsh, divisive, and full of uncertainty for many migrants within the US and for those seeking protection in the country as refugees.

Stop the doublespeak on Manus policy

Professor Jane McAdam

If Papua New Guinea is responsible for the fate of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island, then why is it the Australian Prime Minister rejecting New Zealand’s offer to resettle 150 of them?  

The double-speak on this issue is breathtaking, and the Australian government’s actions belie its rhetoric that this is PNG’s problem and not its own.  

Manus detention centre: Australia is still responsible for these men — and those who haven't made it this far

Madeline Gleeson

First published in ABC News, 1 November 2017.

Australia has "closed" the Manus Island detention centre, and all eyes are on the hundreds of men who have barricaded themselves in, refusing to move to the "transit" accommodation in nearby Lorengau for fear of what awaits them there.

All Australian security personnel and essential services have been withdrawn, leaving the men to fend for themselves.

A Half-Century of Universal Refugee Protection Under Threat

Guy S Goodwin-Gill

First published in Refugees Deeply, 4 October 2017

Fifty years ago, the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees entered into force. It would finally put the international protection of refugees on a universal basis, without limit of time or place. It would thus provide the framework for a truly international response to international problems that no one state should bear alone.

Australia’s long history of offshore detention

Dr Claire Higgins

First published in the Lowy Interpreter, 8 September 2017

Shutting down the Manus Island detention centre by 31 October, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said, will represent 'the closure of a sad chapter'. Much remains unclear about this planned closure, but the eventual failure of offshore detention was clearly foreseen by the Immigration Department – not in 2012, when Manus and Nauru were re-opened, nor even in 1992, when mandatory detention became law. The failure was predicted at the very beginning, when asylum seekers were sailing to Australia in sustained numbers for the first time.

Dutton should learn to live with lawyers helping in matters of life and death

Dr Claire Higgins

First published in The Guardian.

Lawyers who defend asylum seekers, the Immigration Minister believes, are ‘un-Australian’. Peter Dutton is not the first Minister to level criticism at asylum seeker advocates. But history shows that things could –and should – have turned out very differently.

Australia is bankrupting its standing with 'deportation by destitution' policy

Dr Claire Higgins

Australia’s latest asylum policy appears to be deportation by destitution. By cutting financial support from 100 asylum seekers and issuing a new ‘final departure Bridging E Visa’, the government is putting vulnerable people at risk of homelessness and privation. This might seem like an act with purely domestic consequences. But Australia’s harsh asylum policies impact not only on those individuals living onshore and in limbo, or held on Manus or Nauru. They also have a deep and abiding impact on the nation’s international reputation, which matters.

Explainer: how do Australia’s proposed citizenship laws compare internationally?

Sangeetha Pillai

First published in The Conversation.

Debate will resume in parliament this week over the government’s proposed changes to Australian citizenship laws. Among the reforms is a requirement for migrants to be permanent residents of Australia for four years before applying for citizenship - an increase from the current requirement of one year.