Submission: 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submissions

In November 2020 the Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer called for submissions from individuals, businesses and community groups on their views regarding priorities for the 2021-22 Budget.

Amnesty International has made a submission, with two focuses: highlighting the protection of refugees and asylum seekers as an area for serious consideration in planning Federal Budget expenditure, and prompting the government to take a lead in ending the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in the youth justice system.

As a wealthy nation with a long tradition of refugee resettlement, Australia can and must step up its commitment to protecting the world’s most vulnerable people. It becomes all the more urgent in 2021 as displacement continues to rise and the burden intensifies on low and middle-income countries, currently hosting the largest populations of refugees, in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

And as a nation based on more than 60,000 years of custodianship of First Nations people, Australia can and must work towards ending the issues affecting Indigenous children and young people and to give them an equal opportunity.

Adopting a human rights based approach towards refugees and asylum seekers, and Indigenous people, is not only the right thing to do legally and morally, but will be far better for the people directly impacted by Australia’s policies, be far less expensive for the Australian taxpayer and   help repair Australia’s reputation as a country that respects international law as well as its economy in the post-COVID 19 world.

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Joel MacKay is a campaigner at Amnesty International Australia.