Open Letter to Prime Minister Turnbull and all MPs 2016

Over 2,000 Academics have signed the below Open Letter to Prime Minister Turnbull and Members of Parliament.

The full list of signatories is available hereAcademics can sign the below Open Letter here

Dear Prime Minister Turnbull and Members of Parliament

We write to call for A Just and Humane Approach for Refugees.  We support the Policy Paper that has been written by Australian academics, at https://academicsforrefugees.wordpress.com. This Policy Paper makes a number of recommendations that are based on sound evidence.

The Policy Paper recommends that Australia end its harmful policies of offshore processing, boat turnbacks and the mandatory detention of people seeking asylum.

The Policy Paper sets out practical and sound measures to be considered by the Australian government in order to adopt a just and humane approach towards people seeking asylum in Australia. Such an approach recognises that it is lawful to seek asylum and that people should not be penalised for how they arrive in Australia. We recommend that the Australian government should adopt the following four measures:

  • close immigration detention centres and end mandatory detention;
  • initiate comprehensive law reform to ensure that Australia upholds its international obligations;
  • promote a decent livelihood and thriving communities for people seeking asylum or people who have been granted Australia’s protection; and
  • foster positive and empathetic narratives about people seeking asylum.


New regional and global approaches are required. The Policy Paper recommends that Australia should:

  • work with states in the Asia Pacific region to create a regional framework based on equity, capacity and responsibility; and
  • contribute towards making the international system more sustainable, equitable and humane.


Finally, the Policy Paper calls on the Australian government to convene a National Policy Summit in 2017. The Summit should bring together asylum seekers, refugees and former refugees; migrant and refugee advocates; policy experts; community representatives; and politicians from all parties. The Summit should result in constructive policy options and solutions for people seeking asylum that:

  • recognise the need for people to seek a life of safety;
  • recognise and facilitate the positive contributions of refugees to Australia’s communities;
  • respect Australia’s international obligations;
  • reflect a respectful relationship between Australia and its regional neighbours; and
  • recognise Australia’s potential for leadership on this issue. 


We urge you to give serious consideration to this Policy Paper and to bring about a just and humane approach for refugees.

Kind regards
Academics from universities throughout Australia