A New Approach: Breaking the Stalemate on Refugees & Asylum Seekers | LANDMARK REPORT

CPD has released A new approach: breaking the stalemate on refugees & asylum seekers, a report which comprehensively critiques Australia’s refugee and asylum policies and finds they are inhumane, ineffective and expensive.

DOWNLOAD the full report here.

Australia needs a circuit-breaker in our treatment of people seeking asylum from war and persecution. On the 10th anniversary of the Tampa, Australia’s asylum and refugee policies are still sadly characterised by human tragedy, political opportunism, policy failure and great cost.

The authors of the report – John Menadue, Arja Keski-Nummi and Kate Gauthier – draw on their extensive policy experience to inject facts into a highly-politicised debate and put forward policies that ensure we treat people seeking asylum with fairness, assess their claims rigorously but with compassion, and develop policies that are in the interests of all Australians.

The report outlines 13 recommendations which all aim to ensure that Australia:

  • Adheres to all international conventions which we have voluntarily signed
  • Quickly and correctly identifies those who are refugees and grants them protection
  • consistent with UNHCR policies and guidelines
  • Protects Australians from any health or security concerns
  • Discourages dangerous journeys, but treats fairly those who have made those journeys
  • Affords all people in Australia their human rights, as well as access to the legal systems which deliver them, and
  • Rapidly returns home in safety and dignity those who are found not to be in need of
  • Australia’s protection.

“The new approach to refugees and asylum seekers proposed by the Centre for Policy Development deserves widespread community support and should be given serious consideration across the political spectrum. With genuine political will there is no reason why Australia cannot move away from the corrosive and divisive state of the current debate and back to the bipartisan approach which served Australia so well for so long.”

– Heather Ridout, Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group

“This issue should be above and beyond politics, not one to be exploited in a mindless, short-term political race to the bottom, the “winner” being the toughest and most inhumane to those who are predominately desperate people fleeing war and persecution in search of a new life for themselves and their families.”

– John Hewson, AM. Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia (1990 – 1994)

“The Centre for Policy Development’s report, ‘A New Approach’, is exactly the fresh and comprehensive approach that is needed in this policy debate. This report is the circuit breaker refugee advocates and policy makers have been looking for.”

– Samah Hadid, Human rights activist and former Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations.

“Australia’s policies for the treatment of refugees are tired, cynical, populist and punitive. I wholeheartedly support the CPD’s thoughtful, comprehensive and realistic proposals, in the belief they will enhance the contribution this country makes to the alleviation of a worldwide problem.”

– Gideon Haigh, Journalist 

To stay up-to-date with commentary from the A New Approach authors make sure that you are signed up to our email list here.


34 prominent Australians have endorsed the findings of CPD’s A New Approach Report. You can read their full statement of support here.

MEDIA | Download your copy of the media release here. For all interview requests or media enquiries, please contact Amelia Robertson on 0421 773 930 or amelia.robertson(at)cpd.org.au or Antoinette Abboud on 0414 920 801 or antoinette.abboud(at)cpd.org.au

CPD MEDIA: Making ideas about refugees matter

AAP | ‘Report seeks new approach to refugees’

AAP News journalist Belinda Merhab covered CPD’s report on refugees and asylum seekers, featuring prominent Australian Tuong Quang Luu’s personal account of fleeing Vietnam. “It was an extremely hazardous and horrible experience. It’s very difficult for people living in ordinary society, a peaceful society like Australia, to understand because asylum seekers and refugees do not have choices. You have to take risks to survive.” Read more here.

The Age | ‘Plea for asylum policy rethink’

On the front page of The Age, journalist Michael Gordon revealed that prominent business and union leaders have endorsed a new strategy on asylum seekers that would have mandatory detention phased out within two years. Read more here.

ABC The Drum | ‘Breaking the stalemate on refugees and asylum seekers’

One of the endorsers of the findings of A New Approach, Professor Frank Brennan SJ AO, writes for ABC’s The Drum on what he thinks about the vexed state of the policy debate surrounding refugees and asylum seekers. Read more here. 

John Menadue: Navigating the refugee fact free zone

John Menadue offers a roadmap for those seeking the facts amidst the the heated debate about refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. He wades through the misinformation, lies and unfonded opinions to get to what we need to know to start a useful conversation. Read more here.

John Menadue: Trampling on human rights is expensive

Asylum seekers continue to suffer because of poll driven policies and their fate remains an enormous political problem for Australia. John Menadue adds up how expensive trampling on human rights really is. They find that a new approach is not only urgently needed but that it but saves money too. Read more in our Budget InSight edition here.

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