Australia and Refugees, 19012002: An Annotated Chronology Based on Official Sources

Chronologies ONline

Social Policy Group

Dr Barry York - Social Policy Group

Last updated 16 June 2003

This Chronology is issued electronically. It will be kept up-to-date online. The date of the latest update is noted clearly above.


Part 3 of 10

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Chronology 1981-1991


Details

Source Documents

1981

Australia's population is 14 576 330 at the time of the 1981 Census. A total of 3 182 469 is born overseas (22 per cent of the population). People from the United Kingdom (and Republic of Ireland) are the largest group (1 132 601), followed by Italians (275 883), New Zealanders (176 713), Yugoslavs (149 335) and Greeks (146 625). The largest humanitarian group - the Poland-born, who mainly arrived as Displaced Persons after World War Two - totals 59 441. The intake of Indo-Chinese refugees since 1975 reaches 45 077. During the 1980s, an 'Orderly Departures' program is finalised with the Government of Vietnam and the refugee intake is diversified, with new emphasis on Central and Latin America. Australia places greater emphasis on skills in high demand occupations and business schemes in its immigration program. The program is about 80 000 for 1980-1981 but the target is raised to an intake of 145 000 by the end of the decade, 1989-1990. In 1990-1991, the planned intake is 126 000. More than 400 000 refugees and other humanitarian cases have been admitted since 1945, with approximately 150 000 admitted during the 1980s.

Year Book Australia, 1983, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, 1983, p. 127

Year Book Australia, 1982, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, 1982, p. 115

1981

The UNHCR estimates the global refugee population at 8.2 million. This figure does not include other humanitarian categories of concern to the UNHCR or Palestinians assisted by the UN Relief and Works Agency.

UNHCR, The State of the world's refugees, 1997-1998, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 54

1981

A Commonwealth grant-in-aid is made to the Indo-China Refugee Association to employ a qualified social worker for Sydney's Fairfield area.

Review '80, ibid., p. 5

1981

From 19451981, Australia has accepted more than 400 000 refugees and displaced persons from many countries. The Department reflects that 'They have proved themselves valuable and positive contributors to building Australia economically, socially and culturally while at the same time helping to develop and maintain what is still a discernible Australian identity'.

ibid., p. 47

1981

Australia continues its negotiations with the Vietnamese authorities to establish an orderly departure program based on the principle of family reunion. At 30 June 1981, the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs holds 1900 offers of sponsorship on behalf of 3500 people.

ibid.

1981

Between April 1975 and 30 June 1981, Australia has resettled a total of 51 780 Indo-Chinese refugees, including 43 393 Vietnamese, 5050 Laotians and 3276 Kampucheans. Most were selected from camps of first asylum in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, with smaller numbers coming from Hong Kong, the Philippines and other countries. The number of 'boat people' in camps is declining, with 63 310 at 30 June 1981 compared with 85 500 in 1980 and 193 000 in 1979. However, while the Government of Vietnam has maintained its undertakings on organised boat departures from Vietnam, there is still an outflow of people escaping Vietnam by land and sea.

ibid.

1981

Other refugees in 19801981 are Eastern Europeans (in response to outflows from Eastern Europe and pressure on countries of first asylum). Australia resettles 4600 in 19801981 (compared to 2500 the previous year). Events in Poland add to the higher rates of people seeking resettlement and, for the first time, Eastern Europeans are assisted by the CRSS. Also, the resettlement program in Greece for Assyrians from Iraq is extended to include Armenians and Chaldeans (a total of 300 admitted in 19801981). Two hundred and twenty White Russians are admitted from China and a small group of Cubans (40) but this program is not attracting the planned intake as most Cubans leaving Cuba want to settle in the United States.

ibid., p. 48

1981

In the latter half of 1981, the Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) is established.

ibid., p. 49

1981

Under the SHP, Australia continues to take in Soviet Jews. The Soviet Government started allowing them to leave in 1974 and Australia has been receiving groups since then. Five hundred and nineteen are admitted in 19801981 but the planned intake of 1500 is not met due to Soviet exit controls. Also under the SHP, Australia takes in 46 Timorese, as part of the family reunion scheme negotiated with the Indonesian government in 1978. The agreement is for the admission of 625 and, by 19801981, 346 have arrived. On 16 October, Minister Macphee announces the establishment of a special humanitarian program for Timorese who are living in disadvantaged conditions in Portugal, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Jakarta, having left Timor prior to September 1980. This group has to be nominated by relatives in Australia who can provide accommodation and settlement support. In 19801981, 1192 are approved for entry.

ibid.

1981

In June, the Fraser Government establishes Individual Special Humanitarian Entry for individuals suffering serious discrimination or human rights abuses. They have to be fleeing oppression and seeking temporary asylum in a third country and have close relatives or close ties with Australia. This is known as the 'Global SHP'.

ibid.

1981

In 19801981, expenditure of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs is $95 613 650, of which approximately $34 293 000 (35.8 per cent) is spent on settlement services (though the term is not used in the Appropriation Bill). The main expenditure on settlement services is $28 773 000 for the Adult Migrant Education Service, $1 681 952 for Grants-in-aid to ethnic communities, $1 464 000 for the Telephone Interpreter Service and $1 197 000 for assistance to migrant resource and information centres. A total of $338 000 is allocated to voluntary agencies and communities who assist refugees.

Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1981-1982, Budget Paper No. 2, Canberra, 1982, pp. 8385

1981

The 56th unauthorised boat reaches Australia in August 1981, bringing the number of 'boat people' arrivals since 27 April 1976 to 2100. Notwithstanding another unauthorised boat arrival in October, whose passengers are deported when it is shown that they are part of a people smuggling operation, this is the last of the Indo-Chinese 'boat people' until November 1989.

 

1981

Australia initiates the concept of 'temporary refuge' at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR (EXCOM. Temporary refuge is 'the practice whereby refugees are admitted temporarily into a country of first arrival, pending the provision of a durable solution'. EXCOM unanimously endorses the concept.

Review '82, op. cit., p. 59

1981

Review of Commonwealth Functions terminates all assisted passages except for refugees and replaces the Refugee Advisory Council, the Australian Ethnic Affairs Council and the Population and Immigration Council with a single body, the Australian Council on Population and Ethnic Affairs.

Review '81, op. cit., p. 6

1981

In October, 146 asylum seekers from Vietnam arrive at Darwin in an unauthorised boat. Australian Federal Police and Hong Kong police investigations confirm that the passengers paid large sums of money as part of an organised attempt at illegal entry into Australia. One hundred and twenty seven are deported (mainly to Taiwan) in December and the remaining 19 moved temporarily to Villawood Detention Centre awaiting deportation.

Review '82, op. cit., pp. 4, 7, 64.

1981

Grant paid to Association of Lao Refugees in New South Wales to employ a social worker in Fairfield, Sydney.

Review '81, op. cit., p. 6

1981

Australia is the fourth largest contributor to the UNHCR. Since 1978, it has contributed more than $96 million in aid to refugees and refugee situations.

Review '82, op. cit., p. 59

198182

The Fraser Government reviews Australia's refugee programs, following overseas trips by Minister Macphee in June and July 1981. The review results in the introduction in 1982 of 'individual determinations' of the refugee status of people seeking resettlement in Australia, to ensure that 'only genuine refugees, not economic migrants, are admitted under Australia's refugee programs'. The new policy is part of Australia's evolving response to Indo-Chinese in camps in the region, an attempt to set criteria and limit and control the intake at a time of mixed economic/refugee outflows. The review also results in the termination of the White Russian program and an extension of the Latin American program. At 30 June 1982, about 12 500 White Russians from China have been resettled in Australia. The refugee program for Iraqi Assyrians in Greece is ended and that group incorporated into the new SHP for persons of Middle Eastern minority groups. 'Group specific' SHPs also apply to Soviet Jews (about 4300 resettled in Australia since Soviet authorities began allowing them to leave in 1974) and East Timorese.

ibid., pp. 6, 56.

1981

Following imposition of martial law in Poland on 13 December, the Australian Government decides to increase by one thousand the number of Polish refugees admitted from outside Poland.

ibid., p. 7

1982

Report on Indo-Chinese refugee resettlement - Australia's involvement by the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence is published. The Report says that 'Australia's immigration policy is an integral part of its relations with many countries and the refugee policy is increasing in prominence within that policy'.

Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, op. cit., p. 15

1982

Refugee and special humanitarian intake for 19811982 is 21 917the highest since 19501951and unmatched since. In addition to the South East Asian program, which has resettled some 73 600 people since April 1975, the 19811982 intake includes Lebanese and special entry arrangements for Poles and other Eastern Europeans, Soviet Jews, and Central Americans. Poland, which is experiencing the Solidarity movement and martial law, is the main source of Australia's 5923 Eastern European refugees. The total number of Indo-Chinese refugees admitted since April 1975 (to 30 June 1982) reaches 65 585, mainly Vietnamese (54 397) followed by Laotians (5677) and Kampucheans (5449).

Review '82, op. cit., pp. 5657

1982

In March, agreement is reached between the Fraser Government and the Government of Vietnam on migration to Australia and, in June, a Migration Officer is posted to Hanoi. Names of 6000 Vietnamese offered sponsorship by relatives in Australia are given to the Vietnam Government. In November, the first group of immigrants from Vietnam is accepted under the Orderly Departure Program. Six hundred and twenty-four are admitted during 19821983.

ibid.

Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Review '83, Canberra, 1983, p. 26

1982

In a statement to the House of Representatives on 16 March 1982, Minister Macphee announces the Fraser Government's intention to tighten refugee policy by applying the UN Convention criteria on an individual basis rather than on the basis of the UNHCR's group mandate. The aim, he says, is 'to ensure that our limited program places are reserved for the genuine refugees'. During the speech, the term 'queue-jumping' is used, possibly for the first time by a Government Minister.

Hon. Ian Macphee MP, 'Refugee policy and procedures', Statement to House of Representatives, 16 March 1982, in Immigration policies in action, AGPS, Canberra, 1982, pp. 3941

1982

In March, the survey of Indo-Chinese refugees' settlement experiences, which commenced in 1978, is published under the title Please listen to what I'm not saying. It finds that settlement difficulties for Indo-Chinese refugees stem from lack of cultural sensitivity on the part of the host society, an absence of support systems and the lack of an established ethnic community.

Review '82, op. cit., p. 9

1982

In April and May, Australia airlifts 1360 Eastern Europeans from Austria to Australia by Qantas.

ibid., p. 10

1982

In May, Hon. John Hodges MP succeeds Macphee as Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.

 

1982

Government accepts key recommendations of the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs evaluation of the objectives and implementation of the Report of the Review of Post-Arrival Programs and Services for Migrants (the 1978 Galbally report).

Review '83, op. cit., p. 101

1982

Guidelines for the Determination and Processing of Refugees are introduced in July 1982. They interpret the UN Convention definition of refugees in light of Australia's own priorities and criteria for refugee selection. The criteria include:

(i) the size and nature of the particular refugee problem; (ii) the urgency of resettlement; (iii) the validity of the claim for refugee status or consideration within the Special Humanitarian Program; (iv) the views and policies of the UNHCR, countries of first refuge and other resettlement countries; (v) the existence of ethnic communities in Australia likely to facilitate sponsorship and other post-arrival support; and (vi) Australia's regional and other national interests.

Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Review '86, Canberra, 1986, p. 64

1982

In July, 40 people believed to be from Afghanistan are refused entry after arriving at Sydney airport from India without visas.

Review '83, op. cit., p. 101

1982

The number of refugees resettled under the Rescue at Sea Pool (RSP) reaches 330. Under the RSP, which is a UNHCR scheme, a number of countries guarantee a reserve of resettlement places to refugees found at sea by ships from countries flying flags of convenience.

Review '82, op. cit., p. 57

1983

From January, refugees are to be allowed to remain in migrant centre accommodation for 26 weeks to complete English and orientation classes and to seek accommodation and employment. This is a lengthening of the period.

Review '83, op. cit., p 103

1983

The Hawke Government is elected in March 1983. Hon. Stewart West MP is the new Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. The new Government endorses existing refugee policy but diversifies the intake, to 'reflect the global dimensions of refugee problems'. The result is greater focus on Central and South America and the Middle East. Labor also emphasises the importance of placing greater weight on 'political solutions to refugee situations' and, in keeping with the UNHCR view, recognises that resettlement is a last resort. Preferred options, or 'durable solutions', are: voluntary repatriation to the refugees' homeland under suitable and safe conditions and local integration in the country of first asylum. Labor endorses the practice of 'temporary refuge' and reaffirms the system of individual determination of refugee status, introduced by the Government in July 1982.

ibid., pp. 1, 27, 31.

1983

In April, Minister West inspects Villawood Immigration Detention Centre and promises improvements to conditions and the appointment of a manager and a social worker.

ibid., p. 103

1983

In May, a new Immigration Detention Centre is opened at Maribyrnong, Melbourne.

ibid., p. 104

1983

Under Labor, the CRSS and CALFRIC continue and a Clothing Reimbursement Scheme is introduced, through which the government reimburses voluntary agencies for supplying clothing to refugees.

ibid., p. 68

1983

In 19821983, a total of 17 054 persons arrive under refugee and SHP programs. Australia resettles 12 435 refugees from Indo-China, of whom 8177 are Vietnamese, 3997 Kampucheans and 261 Laotians. Australia also admits 3668 people from Eastern Europe, mainly Poles, and smaller numbers from Latin America and East Timor. Under an agreement with Indonesia, a mutually agreed list of East Timorese and their dependents are allowed to move to Australia. Nearly 600 are admitted under the agreement. An additional 760 people are resettled under the Global SHP, into which the Soviet Jewish SHP is incorporated.

ibid., pp. 1, 27, 2931

1983

Minister West participates in inter-governmental consultations (with the United States, Japan and Canada) on the Indo-Chinese refugee situation, at the invitation of the United States Government, in Hawaii.

Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Review '84, Canberra, 1984, p. 114

1983

Communal violence in Sri Lanka in July and August results in special concessions for family migration sponsorships and for people adversely affected by the disturbances.

ibid., p. 36

1983

Renewal of fighting in Lebanon results in new special arrangements for Lebanese entry to Australia, including priority processing of family migration sponsorships, waiving of two year residence requirement for such sponsorships and extension of visitor visas. Further extensions are made, in light of the continuing conflict, during 1984.

ibid., pp. 114116

1983

In September, the Human Rights Commission Report on Villawood Detention Centre, The observance of human rights at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre, is tabled in Parliament. It is critical of conditions and management at the Centre and charges that there is an 'unnecessary circumscription of many rights and freedoms' of detainees, which amounts to a system of 'arbitrary detention' inconsistent with Australia's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and under the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

ibid., p. 114

Human Rights Commission, The observance of human rights at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre, Report no. 6, AGPS, Canberra, August 1983, p. 5

1983

Ministers for Immigration & Ethnic Affairs and for Education and Youth Affairs release the report, Immigrant and refugee youth in the transition from school to work or further study, in December. The report highlights the disadvantage created in employment and education through inadequate English among migrants and refugees aged 15 to 24.

Review '84, op. cit., p. 115.

198384

Refugee and SHPs bring 14 769 people to Australia. 10 092 cases from Indo-China (7908 Vietnamese, 1603 Kampucheans and 581 Laotians), 1964 from Eastern Europe, 982 from Middle East, 838 from Latin America and smaller numbers from other places. More than a third of the Eastern Europeans are Polish supporters of the Solidarity movement. The largest Latin American group is Salvadoran. The DIEA reports that, 'Refugees have become an increasingly important element of Australia's international relations'.

ibid., pp. 2, 3536.

1984

First group of Chilean miners accepted under SHP is settled in Perth. They were deprived of their civil liberties due to trade union activity in Chile.

ibid., pp. 103, 117.

1984

Vietnam Orderly Departure Program) brings 1755 people to Australia. Priority is given to spouses, children, fiances and parents of Australian residents. All applicants are subjected to standard family migration selection criteria.

ibid., pp. 3, 29.

1984

The first appreciable number of Africans (106) is admitted as part of the refugee and humanitarian intake in 19831984. They are mainly Ethiopian and most settle in Melbourne. More than a million Ethiopians are in refugee camps in surrounding countries.

ibid., pp. 36, 118.

1984

At 30 June 1984, DORS has considered about 1700 applications for refugee status since its first meeting on 11 March 1978.

ibid., p. 38

1984

National Population Council meets for first time in August. It was established in June to advise the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs on policies relating to immigration, population, workforce planning, ethnic affairs and settlement, migration and international law and refugee policy.

Review '85, op. cit., p. 131.

1984

First national conference of the Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia is held in Melbourne. A thousand delegates attend.

ibid.

1984

Hawke Government returned at election held on 1 December. Hon. Chris Hurford MP succeeds West as Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.

ibid.

1984

DIEA publishes figures on numbers of refugees arriving in Australia from January 1945 to June 1984: a total of 418 870. The three principal groups are: Polish (74 973), Vietnamese (70 492) and Hungarian (26 185).

Review '84, op. cit., p. 55

1985

By June, Australia has resettled about 95 000 Indo-Chinese refugees since April 1975. In 19841985, 7183 are visaed, of whom 6071 are Vietnamese, 1005 Cambodian and 107 Laotian. More than half are selected from camps in Thailand and Malaysia. A total of 779 East Timorese are granted visas globally under concessional arrangements that are now completed. A total of 214 Sri Lankans are visaed, representing a decline since the violence of 1983. A total of 1166 Eastern Europeans are given visas under the refugee program and 253 under the SHP. Special favourable provisions apply for Polish people who had been detained for their pro-Solidarity activities. Significant increase in humanitarian resettlement of people from South and Central America (1717), half of whom are Salvadorans. 752 South Americans are accepted, mainly Chileans.

Review '85, op. cit., p. 68-69

1985

An earthquake in Chile in March results in priority processing of family migration sponsorships for people affected by the disaster.

ibid., p. 134

1985

Responding in April to the Joint Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee report Australia and ASEAN: Challenge and Opportunities, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Bill Hayden MP, says that the Hawke Government shares the report's view that 'no other part of the world promises to be of more consistent importance to Australia than the region of East and South East Asia'. Hayden describes Australia's immigration and refugee policies as 'fundamental to the way we are perceived by our neighbours in the region'.

ibid., p. 135

1985

Australia accepts 1882 people from the Middle East under the Refugee and Special Humanitarian Programs, notably Iranian Baha'is. Special entry arrangements are made in February for close relatives of Australian residents seriously affected by the conflict in Lebanon. A total of 943 are given visas and an additional 1352, mostly Lebanese, admitted under the family migration scheme.

ibid., p. 69

1985

A total of 144 Africans, mainly Ethiopians, are selected from the small caseload of individuals unable to obtain secure first refuge in Africa.

ibid.

1985

In May, the Treasurer, the Hon. Paul Keating MP, announces that, with a decreasing number of 'boat people' and an increased emphasis on family reunion, a reduction of 2000 in 19851986 in the 12 000 assisted passage places in the Refugee and Special Humanitarian Programs in 19841985 would save around $3.6 million. He also announces the Hawke Government's intention to sell surplus migrant centre buildings and associated land.

ibid., p. 135

1985

In June, Australia joins with thirteen other countries in the Rescue at Sea Resettlement Offers Scheme, launched by the UNHCR. The scheme encourages ships in South East Asian waters to rescue Indo-Chinese boat people.

ibid., p. 136

1985

In July, Minister Hurford announces that five Irian Jayans, who arrived unauthorised in northern Australia, would not be given permanent residence. If they prove their case, they will be recognised as refugees temporarily until arrangements can be made for their resettlement in a third country.

Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Review '86, Canberra, 1986, p. 129

1985

In an address to the Refugee Council of Australia, Minister Hurford expresses the view that the resettlement of Indo-Chinese refugees in third countries is not an adequate solution for all refugee problems. He reaffirms the Hawke Government's commitment to such comprehensive policies as: normal migration arrangements (like the Orderly Departure/Family Reunion Program from Vietnam); voluntary repatriation; screening procedures (such as those developed by the UNHCR) and integration in the immediate locality.

ibid., p. 130

1985

Communique issued in Phnom Penh by Indo-Chinese Foreign Ministers: Vietnamese military forces in Cambodia to be withdrawn progressively and totally in 1990.

ibid.

1985

In December, informal talks on Indo-Chinese refugees held in Canberra between United States, Canada, Japan and Australia, with deputy UN High Commissioner for Refugees present as an observer.

ibid.

1985

Lebanese in Australia on temporary entry permits are invited in December to apply for permanent residence by 31 January 1986 or return home. Special concessional arrangements are brought into line with more general criteria.

ibid., p. 133

1986

The UNHCR estimates the global refugee population at 11.2 million. This figure does not include other humanitarian categories of concern to the UNHCR or Palestinians assisted by the UN Relief and Works Agency.

UNHCR, The State of the world's refugees, 1997-1998, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 54

1986

In January, the Review of Migrant and Multicultural Programs and Services meets for first time.

Review '86, ibid.

1986

In February, the last of the 'White Russians' from China arrives under the special program that had been instigated by the Department and the Australian Council of Churches in 1947. About 14 700 were settled in Australia under the program.

ibid., p. 64

1986

In April, Minister Hurford reiterates the Hawke Government's opposition to an amnesty for 'illegal immigrants'. The Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs estimates that each year more than 16 000 people admitted as visitors remain as illegal immigrants more than six months after their entry permit expires. This message, repeated throughout 1985, has the support of the Opposition, which in 1980 introduced legislation to ensure that Parliamentary approval is required for any amnesty.

ibid., p. 135

Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Review '87, Canberra, 1987, p. 98

1986

In May, Minister Hurford states that while the Indo-Chinese already in Australia are genuine refugees, a large proportion of those leaving the countries of Indo-China 'could not establish any claim of individual politically-motivated persecution'. Many were 'migrantspure and simple', seeking a better life economically and socially.

ibid., p. 137

1986

Migration and Review Task Force established in May, to look at policy proposals relating to the administration of the Migration Act and decisions that flow from it. The aim is to specify entitlements and restrictions and to streamline decision-making processes.

ibid., p. 6

1986

Conflict in Irian Jaya results in 12 000 people crossing the border into Papua New Guinea. In July, Minister Hurford grants refugee status to two of the eleven Irian Jayans living in Australia in the Torres Straits. This follows consideration of the refugee claims by DORS. The Minister grants temporary entry permits to all eleven, allowing them to move freely in Australia and to gain employment for the duration of the permits which, after six months, would be subject to review. The Minister says that the 'best long-term solution' for the nine is 'for them to return to their homes voluntarily'. Granting the permits to all is a 'practical and humanitarian response'.

ibid., pp. 65, 138.

1986

Australia accepts its 100 000th Indo-Chinese refugee during the 19851986 year. About half of the year's refugee and SHP intake is Indo-Chinese (6168). Under the SHP, visas are issued to 254 East Timorese and 38 Sri Lankans. A total of 1572 East Europeans are issued visas and 95 Africans. Also, 946 from Central America (mainly El Salvador) and 524 from South America (mainly Chile). A total of 1690 from the Middle East are granted visas, about half from Lebanon (mainly SHP). The other large group consists of Afghans and Iranians who had sought asylum in Pakistan.

ibid., pp. 65-66

1986

At 30 June, 1986, DORS had considered 2200 applications since 11 March 1978.

ibid.

1986

A survey conducted in August by DIEA and Reark Research Pty Ltd of Australian-born and Asian-born neighbours' attitudes to each other in public and private housing in selected areas of Sydney and Adelaide reveals a high level of acceptance on both sides. The survey focused on areas with concentrations of recently arrived Asians and other migrants and surveyed 555 Australians and 160 migrants.

Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Review '87, Canberra, 1987, p. 154

1986

Don't settle for less, the report of the Committee of Review of Migrant and Multicultural Programs and Services, chaired by Dr. James Jupp, is released. The report recommends that all Government decisions should take into account ethnic and cultural diversity and that the composition and functions of advisory bodies should be reviewed in light of multicultural principles. Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs Hurford responds by saying that 'the response [of the Government] to the needs of migrants and the multicultural nature of our society is not as effective as it should be'. The Review prompts a new strategy on the part of government, with key elements recognising the leadership role of government in promoting multicultural principles and in ensuring that overseas-born residents have equitable access to Federal programs and services.

ibid., pp. 158, 106

Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, News Release, MPS 80/86, 12 August 1986

1986

The Prime Minister, the Hon. Robert Hawke MP, announces the establishment of an Office of Multicultural Affairs, as an advisory and research body. The Office begins operations in March 1987.

Review '87, pp. 159, 163.

1987

Hon. Michael Young MP succeeds Hurford as Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in February, with Hon. Clyde Holding MP appointed Minister Assisting the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.

 

1987

During 19861987, Australia issues visas to 11 291 people under the Refugee and Special Humanitarian Programs. About half are Indo-Chinese, with an increase in Cambodian intake due to Thai closure of the Khao-I-Dang Cambodian refugee camp. SHP visas are issued to 98 East Timorese and 61 Sri Lankans. A total of 2161 Eastern Europeans are given visas, mainly Poles, Hungarians, Czechs and Romanians located in first refuge countries in Europe. In 19861987, the SHP includes opponents of apartheid in South Africa who are persecuted by the regime. Two hundred and thirty-eight Africans are visaed. Visas are issued to 1051 Central Americans (mainly from El Salvador) and 665 Chileans from South America. Also, 1423 people from Middle East are visaed: 425 from Lebanon. The balance is mainly Iranians and Afghans in temporary refuge in Pakistan.

ibid., p. 66

1987

Minister Young announces in September that people who enter Australia and subsequently apply for refugee status would be permitted to work while their cases are decided, provided they meet certain criteria.

Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, Review '88, Canberra, AGPS, 1988, p. 177

1988

Hon. Clyde Holding MP succeeds Young as Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs in the Hawke Government.

 

1988

A study of the Community Refugee Settlement Scheme by Touche Ross Management Consultants confirms the Scheme's importance in refugee settlement in Australia. Since the CRSS's introduction in 1979, it has helped settle nearly 35 000 refugees. In 19861987, 2500 refugees are assisted by about 280 support groups.

ibid., pp. 8687, 183

1988

Australia's Refugee Program and Special Humanitarian Program receives people from more than 60 countries.

ibid., p. 184

1988

In June, Minister Holding tables Immigration - a commitment to Australia, the Report of the Committee to Advise on Australia's Immigration Policies (CAAIP) in the Federal Parliament. The Committee (CAAIP), headed by Dr. Stephen Fitzgerald, was established in September 1987. The report calls for urgent reform of Australia's immigration policy and recommends that it be given a sharper economic focus through greater skilled and business migration. While recommending the maintenance of a refugee and humanitarian program at about 10 per cent of the total intake, the report also calls for a gradual disengagement from Indo-Chinese resettlement.

ibid., p. 187

Also: 'Migrants policy under fire', The Age, 4 June 1988

1988

In 19871988, Australia accepts 11 400 refugees and Special Humanitarian cases. About half are Indo-Chinese. A total of 2462 persons given visas under the Refugee and Special Humanitarian Programs are from Europe, 491 from the Middle East, 1676 from Central and South America and 20 from Africa.

ibid., p. 37, p. 42

1988

New procedures for migrant entry from Vietnam commence on 1 July 1988, after two years of negotiations with the Vietnam Government. Vietnam agrees to provide Australian authorities with substantial lists of people eligible for departure from Vietnam. People wishing to emigrate no longer need to seek permission from the Vietnamese authorities prior to lodging an application with Australian migration personnel. The Vietnam Government retains sole right to grant exit permits. Since the commencement of the original bilateral arrangement in 1982, more than 11 000 people have migrated directly from Vietnam to Australia.

ibid., p. 188

1988

The Clothing Reimbursement Scheme and the Committee for the Allocation of Loans to Refugees in Centres continue their work during 19871988. The former assists 5500 people during the year while the latter has made 12 700 loans since its inception in 1979, with a total value of about $6 million.

ibid., p. 87

1988

At 30 June 1988, there are 3642 refugee wards of the Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs. During the year, 308 refugee minors (aged 18 or under) arrive in Australia. Those who are not joining or arriving with close adult relatives enter as wards of the Minister. Wards aged 16 or under who are full-time students can receive an allowance. At 30 June, 268 refugee wards are receiving the maintenance allowance.

ibid., p. 91

1988

During 19871988, DORS receives 439 applications, of which 432 are finalised.

ibid., p. 41

1988

In September, Senator the Hon. Robert Ray succeeds Holding as Minister in the Hawke Government.

 

1988

In December, Minister Ray announces the Hawke Government's response to the Report of CAAIP. Reforms include the division of the immigration program into three main streams (family, skill and humanitarian) and the establishment of the Bureau for Immigration Research. Migration legislation is reformed to provide for more equitable decision-making, 'capping' is imposed onto program numbers and a new statutory two-tiered system of review for rejected immigration applications is introduced.

Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, Review '89, Canberra, 1989, p. 11

1989

In April, the Hawke Government announces the establishment of the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition within the Department of Employment, Education and Training.

ibid., p. 14

1989

On 3 and 4 June 1989, Chinese troops storm a protest against corruption and for greater democracy by Chinese students who are occupying Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Hundreds of protestors are killed. The Australian Government announces that citizens of the People's Republic of China (PRC) who are normally resident in China but legally temporarily resident in Australia will be permitted to remain here until 31 July 1990 on the same temporary basis. This is later extended to June 1994. The Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, Ray, says the Hawke Government has 'enormous sympathy for the PRC students'. 'Australia', he says, 'has consistently shown its compassion in circumstances where human rights are blatantly violated'.

ibid., p. 15

MILGEA, News Release, 6 June 1989

1989

In June, Australian and Indonesian authorities cooperate in an effort to thwart an illegal migration racket based at Kupang, West Timor. The Indonesian government later deports 40 men from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Sri Lanka who had approached boat owners in Indonesian ports seeking to buy passages to Australia.

'Indons help block illegals', The West Australian, 7 June 1989

'Aliens in Indonesia trying to enter Australia illegally', Canberra Times, 26 June 1989

1989

Following the CAAIP report, DORS procedures are enhanced so that applicants for refugee status can also lodge a parallel application for Grant of Resident Status on humanitarian grounds. Both claims are to be considered by DORS staff. In 19881989, DORS finalises 388 cases and 564 applications are received.

Review '89, op. cit., p. 26

1989

On 1415 June, Australia participates with 77 other countries in an international conference held under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General in Geneva. The Conference, which aims to resolve the situation of Indo-Chinese refugees in camps in the region, endorses a Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA) designed to achieve a durable solution to the problem of the Indo-Chinese outflow. The five key elements of the Plan require first asylum countries in South-East Asia to continue to grant temporary refuge to all asylum seekers and to screen all new arrivals against internationally-recognised criteria to determine whether they are bona fide refugees. Under the CPA, persons deemed not to be refugees are to be returned to their country of origin; persons in camps throughout the region who arrived prior to cut-off dates for screening are to be resettled along with those accepted as refugees; and the orderly departure arrangement is to be expanded as the safest and preferred means of departure from Vietnam. Australia joins the Steering Committee set up to monitor the Plan. By 30 June 1990, Australia has given visas to more than 7200 Vietnamese who were in camps. The Department also gave visas to more than 8000 Vietnamese under general migrant categories.

ibid., p. 15, p. 25

Review '90, op. cit., pp. 4546

Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs (MILGEA), News Release, MPS 90/89, 29 December 1989

1989

Settlement programs continue but principal expenditure is on a network of Migrant Centres in Sydney and Melbourne and self-contained accommodation in all mainland capitals. Minister Ray commences review of on-arrival accommodation.

Review '89, op. cit., p. 37

1989

The Migration Legislation Amendment Act 1989, the Hawke Government's legislative response to the Report of CAAIP, represents the most comprehensive reform of immigration legislation in 30 years. It receives Royal Assent on 19 June 1989.

ibid., p. 15

1989

The National Population Council (NPC) is asked to review Australia's refugee and humanitarian response. It also reviews Grant of Resident Status to Visitors on the grounds of marriage or de-facto relationships.

Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, Review '90, Canberra, 1990, p. 90, pp. 17576

1989

Minister Ray announces a new initiative for refugee women and their families facing hazards such as physical or sexual abuse. The new category allows immigration officers to exercise discretion when assessing refugee applications from single women and their families who are in vulnerable situations.

MILGEA, News Release, MPS 70/89, 18 September 1989

1989

Intensification of fighting around Beirut, and Australian Government's support for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Lebanon, results in extensions of stay for Lebanese visitors to Australia.

MILGEA, News Release, MPS 74/89. 29 September 1989

1989

On 21 November, the High Court rules unanimously in Park Oh Ho v. the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (1989) T 167 CLR 637 that the Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs has no legal basis for the detention of seven Koreans who had illegally entered Australia between December 1985 and July 1986. They were detained at Villawood from 20 August to 2 December 1986.

'Koreans' detention illegal, court rules', The Age, 22 November 1989

1989

On 28 November 1989, a small boat carrying 26 people from Cambodia arrives at Broome: the first direct boat arrival from Indo-China since 1981. Two more boats arrive: on 31 March with 119 people and on 1 June with 79 people. Talks are held with Cambodian officials in an attempt to find solutions in line with accepted international principles.

Review '90, op. cit., p. 15, p. 48.

1989

Torture and trauma therapy centres in Sydney and Melbourne receive funding from the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in November. A nation-wide network is developed and eventually administered by the Department of Community Services and Health.

Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Refugee and humanitarian issues: the focus in Australia, 1994, p. 34

1989

In late 1989, the Hawke Government introduces accelerated processing and movement arrangements for refugee women and their families in situations involving abuse and exploitation, and refugees and other victims of persecution facing immediate life threatening situations or threat to liberty.

Review '90, op. cit., p. 39

1989

Speaking at a function to mark the tenth anniversary of the Community Refugee Settlement Scheme, Minister Ray says that Australia shares the concerns of many others in the international community about 'the large numbers of people seeking a better life who presented themselves as asylum seekers'. 'If we use valuable resettlement places to help them', he says, 'we may deny freedom and security to a corresponding number of genuine refugees in precarious circumstances'.

MILGEA, News Release, MPS 85/89, 8 December 1989

1989

In 1989, Australia's Migration Act is overhauled, the first such fundamental redesign since 1958, when the Migration Act replaced the old Immigration Act of 1901. The new Act, the Migration Legislation Amendment Act 1989 comes into operation on 19 December 1989. The Act and Regulations tighten control of the management of the immigration program, create a two-tier system for the review of migration decisions, and in the words of the Minister Senator the Hon. Robert Ray, 'improves the ability to curb abuse of the immigration program by people seeking to come to Australia illegally'. The 'illegals' in question are mainly visitors who have overstayed their visas. Minister Ray says he 'makes no apology for the toughness of the new law as far as illegal entrants are concerned'. The 'toughness' includes the introduction of mandatory deportation (after a period of grace of 28 days) and the power to sell illegal entrants' possessions with a view to recovering costs relating to detention and deportation. 'Illegals' are given twelve months, from 19 December, to regularise their status or forfeit the right to apply to remain. (The Migration Reform Act 1992 strengthened the mandatory deportation section by removing the 28 day period of grace and replacing it with 'removal as soon as possible'). The people of concern to the Government are mainly individuals who have overstayed their visitor visas and students from the People's Republic of China who had been assured by Prime Minister Hawke in June (following the repression of protestors in Tiananmen Square) that they would not have to return to the PRC on the expiration of their student visas. In response to some public concerns, the Minister guarantees that the new Act and Regulations do not disadvantage asylum seekers and that the determination of their status would be 'basically the same as it was before 19 December'.

ibid., p. 15, p. 21

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 88/89, 18 December 1989

1989

The Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia criticises the new Migration Regulations on the grounds that some changes 'infringe on the basic human rights of many Australians and potential migrants'. A National Immigration Forum is established by ethnic community groups, the Council of Churches and the International Community of Jurists, to campaign against the new Regulations.

'Tougher migration rules in force today', The Age, 19 December 1989

1989

In December, more than a decade after the initial large-scale resettlement of Vietnamese refugees in Australia, Minister Ray describes the Vietnamese in Australia as having 'demonstrated their industriousness and determination to build a new life for themselves and their children'. Australia has resettled about 120 000 Indo-Chinese.

MILGEA, News Release, MPS 90/89, 29 December 1989

1990

Following the December 1989 reforms to the immigration law, Minister Ray reports that 'tens of thousands' of 'illegals' have either left Australia or sought to legalise their status. These were mainly visa overstayers. In 19881989, about 14 000 applications for Grant of Resident Status (GORS) had been received by the Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs but in December alone the number of applications was 12 000. The number of PRC citizens applying under the GORS program increased dramatically. A period of grace is declared. So-called 'illegals' have until 16 February to apply for an entry permit and face mandatory deportation if the application fails. The period of grace is extended on two occasions.

MILGEA, Media Release, 21 January 1990 and 24 January 1990

1990

In February, Minister Ray assures PRC nationals in Australia that the new regulations will not adversely affect them and that those who were legally in Australia on 20 June 1989, are still allowed to apply for permanent residence. Those who were here illegally may apply for temporary entry permits valid until 31 January 1991. Extensions of stay are also announced for Sri Lankan citizens and visitors from Lebanon.

MILGEA, News Release, 16 February 1990

1990

International aid workers in Phnom Penh claim that a syndicate is selling illegal boat passages from Cambodia to Australia. They say that people had paid up to $A5000 and that eight fishing boats had left the port of Kompong Som for Australia in recent months.

'Cambodians paying up to $5000 for escape to Australia', The Age, 24 April 1990

1990

In April, Hon. Gerry Hand MP succeeds Ray as Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs.

 

1990

On 9 May, Minister Hand announces adjustments to the migration rules which, he says, are necessitated by a number of procedural flaws arising from the changes of 19 December 1989. The initial changes of relevance to asylum seekers relate to 'illegal entrants' who, under the changes, are given extended time in which to apply for an entry permit and also given the right to have decisions on entry applications reviewed under the new two-tiered system.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 37/90, 9 May 1990

1990

Opposition Leader, Hon. John Hewson MP, and Opposition Immigration Spokesman, Hon. Philip Ruddock MP, condemn Prime Minister Hawke's decision to allow PRC nationals to remain in Australia. They argue that the decision sets dangerous precedents and pre-empts the established processes for dealing with refugees. Wellington Lee, chair of the Asian-Australian Consultative Council, accuses the PRC students of 'duping' the Australian authorities and 'living off the blood' of the Tiananmen massacre.

'Outrage over favoured students', Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June 1990

1990

On 27 June, Minister Hand announces the introduction of temporary entry permits within the refugee and humanitarian categories. Prompted by an unprecedented increase in applications for refugee status arising from Prime Minister Hawke's assurances to PRC students that they would not have to return to China, the new policy separates the obligation to offer protection from the practice of granting automatic permanent residence to individuals deemed to be refugees. The regulations are amended to create temporary entry permits which provide refugees with four years' protection. Holders may apply for permanent residence after four years and they may apply for the renewal of the permit.

Under the changes, the Minister also institutes a review of the DORS processes, with a view to expanding their capacity.

MILGEA, Media Release, 27 June 1990

1990

On 27 June, Government announces that Chinese nationals who were in Australia at the time of the Beijing Tiananmen Square incident (20 June 1989) would be granted temporary residence for four years to 30 June 1994, under a special category of permit. There are about 20 000 in Australia in 1990.

Review '90, op. cit., p. 16, p. 45

1990

During 19891990, DORS receives 3598 applications, compared with 564 the previous year. Four hundred and forty-nine cases are finalised in 19891990.

ibid., pp. 4445

1990

On 10 July, Minister Hand announces that all asylum seekers on four-year temporary residence permits are to be given access to the following government services: Special Benefit, Family Allowance, Family Allowance Supplement, Medicare, labour market programs, English language training and education. (The Special Benefit is a 'safety net' measure as the temporary residents are not eligible for pensions and unemployment benefits.)

MILGEA, Media Release, 10 July 1990

1990

In July, Minister Hand extends the period of stay for Sri Lankans and Lebanese temporarily in Australia, due to uncertain security situations in both places. Subsequent extensions last until December 1991.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 47/90, 27 July 1990

1990

In August, the Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs opens a special centre in Sydney for the processing of applications for the special Temporary Entry Permits for PRC citizens. The permits are valid to the end of June 1994.

Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Review '91, Canberra, 1991, p. 18

1990

Federal government trebles the number of compliance staff in regional offices of the Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, and undertakes other measures to reduce the number of people in Australia illegally.

ibid.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 50/90, 21 August 1990

1990

In September, the Joint Standing Committee on Migration Regulations tables its first report, Illegal entrants in Australia - balancing control and compassion.

Review '91, op. cit, p. 18

1990

On 15 October, Minister Hand announces the Hawke Government's intention to further amend the Migration Regulations with a view to allowing certain people who were in Australia illegally before 19 December 1989 to regularise their status. The decision is based on the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration Regulations. The provisions apply until 18 December 1993, after which no person in Australia illegally prior to 19 December 1989 will be able to obtain permission to remain.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 54/90, 15 October 1990

1990

On 26 October, the Hawke Government announces the introduction of a new system of determining claims for refugee status and humanitarian stay and the provision of significantly larger resources to speed up decision-making on refugee applications. The new system begins on 10 December. Under the new arrangement, a Refugee Status Review Committee (RSRC) replaces the DORS Committee. Refugee applications now go through three stages: a primary stage for applications to be assessed and decisions made quickly; a review stage for negative assessments; and where there are clear grounds for humanitarian stay but where refugee status is not recommended, the Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs may approve temporary entry on humanitarian grounds. For the first time, a non-government representative is involved in the decision-making process: a nominee of the Refugee Council of Australia is a member of the RSRC. Government members represent the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Attorney-General and DILGEA. A representative of the UNHCR attends meetings in an advisory capacity.

Review '91, op. cit., pp. 1819

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 55/90, 26 October 1990

1990

Further extensions are granted to Sri Lankans and Lebanese. Citizens and residents of either country who are in Australia temporarily on 31 October 1990 may extend their stay until 30 June 1991. In announcing the extensions, Minister Hand says that 'compliance activity in respect of illegal entrants would increase significantly from 1 November 1990' and that any Sri Lankan or Lebanese illegal entrants arrested after 1 November would not be eligible for the concession.

MILGEA, Media Release, 29 October 1990

1990

In December, Minister Hand announces that plans to establish a holding centre for Cambodian boat people at Port Hedland have been abandoned and that the 224 unauthorised boat arrivals, who arrived in November 1989 and March and June 1990, would remain in Westbridge Migrant Centre, Sydney, Enterprise Migrant hostel, Melbourne, and the Youth Hostels Association Hostel in Darwin, until their future could be decided and while the Department reassessed options for a holding centre elsewhere.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 62/90, 12 December 1990

1990

In December, Minister Hand issues 'fair warning' to the 'illegal community' that the Government is now better equipped and prepared to enforce its policies against them. He cites figures for the month of November, revealing that 536 'illegals' had been located by his Department, a figure more than double the monthly average for 19891990. The 'illegals' are people who have overstayed their visas and the Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs estimates that there are 90 000 as of 30 April 1990. The great majority entered as visitors to Australia.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 61/90, 7 December 1990

Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, Review '91, Canberra, 1991, p. 87

1991

In January, Minister Hand announces that people visiting from Latvia and Lithuania may apply to extend their entry permits, in light of the unsettled situation in those republics.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 2/91, 16 January 1991

1991

In February, Minister Hand announces extensions of stay to citizens of Iraq, Israel, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, in light of conflict in the Persian Gulf.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 6/91, 5 February 1991

1991

In March, two boats arrive at Darwin without authorisation, carrying 33 and 35 people. The group of 33 consists of 20 PRC citizens, eight Macanese and five Vietnamese while the group of 35 comprises 34 Cambodians and one Vietnamese. Due to inadequate accommodation facilities in Darwin, most of the people on the second boat are sent to Sydney and Melbourne for processing.

MILGEA, Media Release, 7 March 1991

Joint Standing Committee on Migration, Asylum, border control and detention, AGPS, Canberra, 1994, p. 17

1991

On 15 March, Minister Hand announces guidelines under which people legally (i.e. who are not illegal entrants) in Australia who are unable to sustain a claim to refugee status will be allowed to have their claims considered on humanitarian grounds. The guidelines are part of the new refugee system introduced on 10 December 1990. Recommendations for humanitarian stay are to be made by the Refugee Status Review Committee, with final decisions made by the Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs under Section 115 of the Act. This special category is for 'exceptional cases presenting features of threat to personal security and intense personal hardship'. It is officially titled the 'Special Assistance Category'.

Review '91, op. cit., p. 21

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 15/91, 15 March 1991

1991

In recognition of the deteriorating situation in (then) Yugoslavia, in August Minister Hand allows visitors from (then) Yugoslavia to extend their stay until 31 December 1991.

Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, Review '92, Canberra, 1992, p. 395

1991

On 30 July, the report of the National Population Council's Refugee Review is presented to Minister Hand. The Review was commissioned in November 1989 with a view to providing the Government with options for Australia's future approach to refugee policy, resettlement programs and processing, settlement services and socio-economic consequences.

Review '92, p. 90

1991

In 19901991, the total outlay of the Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs is $320 788 000, of which $141 366 000 (44 per cent) is spent on settlement and ethnic affairs. The main expenditure on settlement services is $98 194 000 for English training and $26 852 000 on 'access to services'. A total of $11 676 000 is spent on refugees, humanitarian and special assistance.

Program Performance Statements 1991-1992, Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs portfolio, Budget related paper, no. 8.9, Canberra, 1992, pp. 6, 11, 101

1991

On 12 August, Minister Hand announces the Hawke Government's decision to establish a processing centre at Port Hedland, Western Australia, for people who arrive in Australia without prior authorisation.

Review '92, ibid.

1991

On 13 August, Minister Hand announces that refugee claimants onshore now have to lodge a completed application within 28 days of indicating their intention to apply. In the case of unauthorised 'border applicants', the 28 days apply from the date of arrival. The Minister states that the new measure is designed to stop 'the system being misused by some individuals who are cynically seeking to extend their stay in Australia'. He also points to the 'dramatic rise' in numbers of asylum claimants. During the 1980s, applications averaged about 500 a year but from 1989 there was a sudden upsurge. At August 1991, the Department had 17 000 applications on hand, and the number was growing at a rate of 1000 a month. 'We may well reach a point', he said, 'where onshore asylum numbers begin to encroach seriously on our overseas resettlement capacity'. One hundred and sixty new permanent staff and 100 temporary staff are recruited and trained to help clear the backlog.

ibid.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 50/91, 13 August 1991

Media Release, Immigration Budget Statement 3, 20 August 1991

1991

In his Immigration Budget statement for 19911992, Minister Hand announces additional funds and staff for onshore processing of claims for refugee status and humanitarian stay, enhanced immigration compliance and control arrangements, and funding for reception and detention centres for people who arrive in Australia without prior screening or approval.

MILGEA, Media Release, Immigration Budget Statement 1, 20 August 1991

1991

Minister Hand announces the recruitment of an additional 21 compliance field and investigations officers and the decision to expand the Westbridge Migrant Centre at Villawood to provide temporary accommodation for people in detention.

MILGEA, Media Release, Immigration Budget Statement 4, 20 August 1991

1991

The Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs introduces computerised case management system to link the determination of refugee status operational areas of the Department in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.

MILGEA, Media Release, Immigration Budget Statement 3, 20 August 1991

1991

One hundred and thirteen Cambodian 'boat people' are transferred from the Enterprise Migrant hostel at Springvale, Melbourne, to Westbridge, Villawood, New South Wales. The group arrived at Broome without authorisation in March 1990 and had been held in custody under Section 88 of the Migration Act. Some absconded while at Springvale 'rather than await the outcome of their refugee applications'. An officer of the UNHCR and a legal adviser travel with the group to Sydney.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 57/91, 30 August 1991

1991

Final group of unauthorised arrivals from Macau, who arrived in March, are sent home on 6 October after investigations reveal they are part of a people-smuggling racket and have no valid claims to refugee status.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 59/91, 11 October 1991

1991

The first group of 'boat people' is detained in the new processing centre at Port Hedland, Western Australia, consisting of 104 Indo-Chinese transferred there from temporary sites in Darwin. They are detained while their refugee applications are being processed. Minister Hand says the new centre represents 'considerable savings' in the 'costs of housing people who arrive on our shores without a legal right to enter'.

MILGEA, Media Release, MPS 62/91, 18 October 1991

'Boat people to move', The News, NT, 21 October 1991

1991

Government allows nine 'illegal entrants' from the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya to remain in Australia on four year temporary permits. The nine are active supporters of the separatist guerilla movement, the Free Papua Movement (OPM). They had arrived in four unauthorised boats between June 1985 and October 1987, disembarking at the Torres Strait Islands. An additional three, with criminal records, are deported.

'Irian refugees allowed to stay', The Age, 26 November 1991

'Government in bind over 'refugees'', Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 1991

1991

In December, further extensions of stay are granted to citizens of the former Yugoslavia and Sri Lanka. The new extensions end on 30 April 1992.

Review '92, op. cit., p. 39

1991

The total number of immigrants admitted in 19901991 is 123 600. Seven thousand visas are in the Business Migration Program and 9780 visas are issued under the Refugee and Special Humanitarian Programs. Of these, 44 per cent are Indo-Chinese, 30 per cent Middle Eastern, 20 per cent Latin American, three per cent East European and three per cent African.

Review '91, op. cit., pp. 4445

1991

The UNHCR estimates the global refugee population at 17.2 million. This figure does not include other humanitarian categories of concern to the UNHCR or Palestinians assisted by the UN Relief and Works Agency.

UNHCR, The State of the world's refugees, 1997-1998, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 54

1991

Australia's population is 17 284 000 at the time of the 1991 Census. A total of 3 965 300 is born overseas (23 per cent of the population). People from the United Kingdom (and Republic of Ireland) are the largest group (1 244 300), followed by New Zealanders (286 400), Italians (272 000), people from the Former Yugoslav Republics (168 000) and Greeks (147 400). The largest humanitarian groupthe Vietnam-born, who arrived after 1975total 124 800. More than 550 000 refugees and other humanitarian cases have been admitted since 1945.

Year Book Australia 1995, ABS, Canberra, p. 119

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Commonwealth of Australia
Chronologies are written for Members of Parliament, being located on the Internet they can be read by members of the public, however some linked items are available to Members of Parliament only, due to copyright reasons.


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