Author Archive: Catherine Crittenden

Q&A with Senator Kristina Keneally

On Tuesday 2 June 2020, Labor for Refugees held a Q&A, What is Labor doing? with the shadow minister via Zoom. The recording of the event can be found here.

Senator Keneally sent the following letter after the event:

Thank you for attending the Zoom Q&A session. The insights from Labor 4 Refugees are always valued and I value the open dialogue we have on migration, refugee and asylum issues.  

Australians are enthusiastic supporters of migration and as I said the other night we are one of the most successful multicultural nations on earth. We can be proud of the role migration has played in our past – and will play in our future. Our identity as a nation of migrants is unifying and we have welcomed people from every corner of the globe. Refugees and asylum seekers continue to – and will always play – a key part in Australia’s story. 

We covered a wide array of topics which canvassed the implications of COVID on temporary migrants, the additional powers for Australian Border Force officers in detention centres, Medevac, and a range of other topics. The questions were brilliant, and I thank everyone who took the time to draft and submit one. I’m sorry we couldn’t get to them all. 

A prominent issue for the community and one we spoke about the other night is the lack of financial relief or income support for temporary migrants in Australia, including SHEV and TPV holders and the hundreds of thousands of students and other visa holders with work rights – but no work – who have been left without any support.    

As I mentioned during the call, we are collecting case studies of people on temporary visas who are facing difficulties here in Australia. I am concerned that the Government does not understand the situation many temporary migrants are currently facing and believe that the Treasurer and Minister Ruston need to hear about the contribution migrants make to our country. If you have a story to tell about temporary migrants you know or know a temporary migrant who wants to tell their story,  please contribute here

Your perspective is appreciated. You can sign up to my regular stakeholder newsletter here, or if you have any additional thoughts or ideas please don’t hesitate to contact me at  

Kind regards


Release detainees at risk from COVID-19

Labor for Refugees strongly supports the position of a number of organisations regarding the urgent need to release immigration detainees in line with recommendations of peak medical bodies and human rights lawyers advising the federal government on their response to COVID-19. In particular, Labor for Refugees endorses the statement made by Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow who has declared that these detainees should be put into community detention where it is safe to do so.  He said that putting people in community detention would enable these people to practise social distancing, as we are all urged to do, and that this must be done as soon as possible.

Commissioner Santow’s position aligns with the joint position of the World Health Organization (WHO), UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration (OIM) and UN Commissioner for Human Rights.

The link to Commissioner Santow’s SBS interview, where he clearly sets out his position on this issue and the reasons for it, follows