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Break the cycle of injustice

Thursday, March 8 2018

Dear Friend,

I want to provide you with a quick snapshot of where things are at for people seeking asylum under the Fast Track Process – and to seek your help.

The issue may have momentarily disappeared from the media, but people seeking asylum in our country face a continuing emergency.

Lodging a protection visa application by 1 October 2017 was the first, fundamental step.

Now, under the next phase of processing, thousands of people are being called to an interview with the Department of Home Affairs about their case – or are seeking review. They’re facing the final ruling on their fate. 

31 March 2014        Legal limbo 

31,000 people remained in legal limbo, having come by boat years before. The Federal government defunded legal assistance for these people.

13 April 2015          Emergency begins

After re-introducing Temporary Protection Visas and commencing the ‘Fast Track’ system, the Government started processing the 31,000 people. Long-standing, fundamental legal safeguards were stripped away. It left people like Ali, an Afghan Hazara, with little English, to complete at least 62 pages of forms with 184 questions and a detailed statement of his fears – all in English. We helped thousands of people to lodge this complex, onerous and critical paperwork.

8 Dec 2016              Emergency escalates

13,500 remaining people – many of them on wait-lists like ours – hadn’t yet been able to apply. The Government suddenly started issuing 60-day deadline letters. This rule change caused panic and distress as people rushed to meet their deadline.

21 May 2017           Final deadline set to ‘lodge or leave’

7,500 people who hadn’t yet been able to apply were suddenly issued with another arbitrary deadline – this time, to ‘lodge or leave’ by 1 October 2017. People who missed the deadline risked being deported without the Government even hearing their cases for protection.

1 Oct 2017              Deadline reached

We assisted thousands of people – who’d fled from human rights atrocities in places like Mynamar, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka – to apply by the deadline.

March 2018            Thousands facing their final ruling

Under this second phase of processing, 15,000 people across the country now face their last chance interview with the Department, or limited review if refused. Legal help continues to be absolutely essential under this process. Without it, the risks are real and dire. Thousands of people need our expert legal help as they face their final fate.

2019                     ?


They desperately need our help – and your help.

Break the cycle of injustice.

Support Refugee Legal.  

Your donation will help people get a fair go before the law – and the legal permission to stay.


David Manne
Executive Director