Australia

Political System

Australia is a parliamentary democracy made of six states and eight territories. The government has three main bodies.

  • House of Representatives: The House of Representatives is the lower house of the Parliament. It has 150 members, each representing an electorate. Like the United Kingdom, many of the customs of Parliament are traditional, such as the Prime Minister being the leader of the majority party of the House of Representatives and the second largest party being called the Opposition Party[i]. Members are elected by preferential voting and each electorate has an equal amount of voters. Elections are held every three years. The House proposes and passes laws, determines the government, represents the people and controls the expenditure of the government. Members of the majority party of the House become Ministers in the executive branch. The leader of the majority party becomes the Prime Minister[ii]. The Coalition is the majority party of the House with 90 seats, followed by the Liberal Party of Australia with 58 seats[iii].

  • The Senate: The Senate is the upper house of the Parliament. It has 76 members, with membership divided evenly among Australia’s states. All six states have twelve senators, while the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory have two senators each. The Senate’s legislative power is equal to that of the House of Representatives. It can make amendments to financial legislation and refuse to pass bills, but it cannot introduce or amend laws on taxation or allow the government additional expending. Members are elected by a system of proportional representation [iv]. The Coalition is currently the majority party with 30 seats, closely followed by the Labor party with 26 seats [v].

  • The High Court of Australia: The High Court is the judicial body of the Australia, enforcing laws and acting as a check on the power of the other bodies of government [vi].


[i] http://www.australia.gov.au/about-government/how-government-works/federal-government

[ii]http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/House_of_Representatives/About_the_House_of_Representatives

[iii]http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook44p/Composition44th

[iv]http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/About_the_Senate

[v] http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate

[vi] http://www.australia.gov.au/about-government/how-government-works/federal-government

Current Political Leaders (2016)
  • Malcom Turnbull: Turnbull first became Australia’s Prime Minister on September 15, 2015 and began his second term on July 19, 2016 [i].

  • Queen Elizabeth II: The Queen acts as more of a figure head. She is the head of state, but is represented by the Governor-General [ii]

  • Sir Peter Cosgrove: Cosgrove is the current Governor-General, representing the Queen. He performs the ceremonies of the head of state for the Queen as well as appointing and dismissing Executive Councilors, Ministers, appointing judges, issuing writs for general elections, initiating government expenditure, assenting that legislation has been passed by both Houses and converting them to law, and blocking or proposing amendments to laws passed by the Parliament [iii]


[i] https://www.pm.gov.au/your-pm

[ii] http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/House_of_Representatives/Powers_practice_and_procedure/00_-_Infosheets/Infosheet_20_-_The_Australian_system_of_government

[iii] http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/House_of_Representatives/Powers_practice_and_procedure/00_-_Infosheets/Infosheet_20_-_The_Australian_system_of_government

National Statistics

[i]

  • Population in 2015: 23,781,169 (89% urban, 11% rural)

  • Population Density: 3 people per square kilometer

  • Land Area: 7,682,300 square kilometers

  • Estimated Per Capita Income, 2015: $56,311

  • Racial Breakdown[ii]:

    • White: 74.3%

    • Chinese: 3.1%

    • Indian: 1.4%

    • Aboriginal: .5%

    • Other: 20.7%

  • Unemployment Rate (October 2016): 6[iii]


[i] http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.RUR.TOTL.ZS?locations=AU

[ii] https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/as.html

[iii] http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6202.0

Refugee Resettlement Program History
  • 1937: The Australian Jewish Welfare Society, in response to the large amounts of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, began the first refugee settlement support service, funded by the Australian Government[i].
  • 1945: “First federal immigration portfolio established to administer Australia’s post-war migration program”[ii]
  • 1947: Australian Government and International Refugee Organization began working together to settle refugees from Europe. Australia settled over 170,00 people between 1947 and 1954[iii].
  • 1977: Humanitarian Program developed to address the flow of Indochinese asylum seekers fleeing the Vietnam War [iv].
  • 1977: First Migrant Resource Center established in Melbourne
  • 1979: A loan scheme was created to help refugees own homes
  • 1979: Community Refugee Settlement Scheme was begun to provide refugees with on-arrival accommodation and assistance in finding work [v]
  • 1981: Special Humanitarian Program
  • 1989: Special visa category created within refugee program for women and children
  • 1991: Special Assistance Category visa was created to settle people from specific areas in crisis who had connections in Australia
  • 1997: Community Resettlement Settlement Scheme replaced by Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy [vi]


[i] http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/getfacts/seekingsafety/refugee-humanitarian-program/history-australias-refugee-program/

[ii] http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/BEF8BD30A177EC39CA257C4400238EED?opendocument

[iii] http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/getfacts/seekingsafety/refugee-humanitarian-program/history-australias-refugee-program/

[iv] http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1516/Quick_Guides/HumanitarianProg

[v] http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/getfacts/seekingsafety/refugee-humanitarian-program/history-australias-refugee-program/

[vi] http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/getfacts/seekingsafety/refugee-humanitarian-program/history-australias-refugee-program/

Refugee Resettlement Program Funding

The Refugee and Humanitarian Program is funded in part by the Settlement Services allocation within the Department of Social Services. The Program is funded by the government’s yearly budget[i].


[i] http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/2015-16-Budget.pdf

Resettlement Data 2002-2014

In the 2014 data, figures between 1 and 4 have been replaced with an asterisk (*). These represent situations where the figures are being kept confidential to protect the anonymity of individuals. Such figures are not included in any totals.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN                                      # SETTLED 2002-2014

Afghanistan

13708

Albania

3

Algeria

6*

Angola

6

Australia

1

Austria

2

Azerbaijan

3

Egypt

1300

Bhutan

3868

Benin

12*

Burundi

2552

Bangladesh

75

Bosnia and Herzegovina

204

Botswana

7

Brazil

1

Bulgaria

2

Cambodia

31

Cameroon

31

Central African Republic

14

Chad

21

China

640*

Congo

1041*

Dem. Rep. of the Congo

3967

Colombia

35

Cuba

45

Cyprus

2

Czech Rep.

3

Djibouti

16

Ecuador

3

Eritrea

2002

Ethiopia

3976

Fiji

19

French Polynesia

1

Palestinian

62*

United Kingdom

13

Germany

7

Ghana

169

Guinea-Bissau

1

Greece

1

Guinea

452

Haiti

6

Croatia

520

CÌ«te d'Ivoire

384

India

482

Indonesia

1362

Iran (Islamic Rep. of)

5880

Iraq

27586

Jordan

142

Kenya

1438

Lao People's Dem. Rep.

344

Kyrgyzstan

8

Kuwait

253

Liberia

2979

Libya

50

Lebanon

1302

Sri Lanka

990

Mauritania

74

Mali

2

Malaysia

714

Malawi

190*

Mongolia

5

Mozambique

31

Myanmar

15811

Namibia

366

Nepal

1425

Nigeria

137

Pakistan

1173

Peru

1

Philippines

17

South Africa

29

Papua New Guinea

2

Romania

3

Russian Federation

81

Rwanda

712

El Salvador

7

Saudi Arabia

76

Senegal

22

Sierra Leone

3019

Solomon Islands

5

Somalia

2561

South Sudan

115

Serbia and Kosovo

2403

Viet Nam

201*

Stateless

22

Sudan

24681

Swaziland

1

Syrian Arab Rep.

2222

Switzerland

5

Timor-Leste

475

Tunisia

7

Turkey

167

United Arab Emirates

38

United Rep. of Tanzania

552

Thailand

2773

Tibetan

277

Timor-Leste

130

Togo

347

Tonga

7

Turkey

81

Uganda

656

Uzbekistan

51

Algeria

13

Various/unknown

360

Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

*

Yemen

34

Zambia

143

Zimbabwe

2407

Asylum Seekers Recognized

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN

2012

2013

2014

TOTAL

Afghanistan

2603

1218

135

3956

Albania

7

9

*

16

United Arab Emirates

0

0

*

*

Armenia

0

0

*

*

Austria

0

0

*

*

Azerbaijan

0

0

*

*

Burundi

0

0

*

*

Belgium

0

0

*

*

Bangladesh

56

27

32

115

Bahrain

12

8

5*

25*

Belarus

0

0

*

*

Brazil

2

0

*

2*

Bhutan

0

0

*

*

Botswana

0

1

*

1*

Central African Rep.

0

0

*

*

Canada

0

0

*

*

Chile

0

0

*

*

China

221

200

157

578

Côte d'Ivoire

0

0

*

*

Cameroon

0

0

*

*

Dem. Rep. of the Congo

6

1

0

7

Congo

0

0

*

*

Colombia

21

23

11

55

Costa Rica

0

0

*

*

Cuba

0

0

*

*

Cyrpus

0

0

*

*

Czech Republic

0

0

*

*

Germany

2

0

*

2*

Djibouti

2

0

*

2*

Algeria

1

0

*

1*

Egypt

165

334

253

752

Eritrea

2

0

18*

20*

Western Sahara

0

0

*

*

Estonia

0

0

*

*

Ethiopia

15

11

38

64

France

0

0

*

*

Fiji

70

47

39

156

United Kingdom

0

2

*

2*

Georgia

2

3

*

5*

Ghana

1

6

*

7*

Guinea

0

0

*

*

Gambia

0

0

*

*

Greece

0

0

*

*

Guatemala

0

0

*

*

China, Hong Kong

0

0

*

*

Hungary

0

0

*

*

Indonesia

14

16

14

44

India

42

73

52

167

Iran (Islamic Rep. of)

1769

704

395

2868

Iraq

517

252

211

980

Israel

5

4

*

9*

Italy

0

0

*

*

Jamaica

0

0

*

*

Jordan

19

16

20

55

Japan

0

2

*

2*

Kazakhstan

0

0

*

*

Kenya

13

5

8

26

Kyrgyzstan

1

0

*

1*

Cambodia

3

1

*

4*

Kiribati

0

0

*

*

Rep. of Korea

5

5

*

10*

Kuwait

5

2

*

7*

Lebanon

57

49

58

164

Liberia

1

8

*

9*

Libya

99

182

156

437

Sri Lanka

386

473

89

948

Morocco

5

0

*

5*

Rep. of Moldova

0

0

*

*

Maldives

1

0

*

1*

Mexico

2

1

*

3*

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

0

0

*

*

Mali

0

0

*

*

Malta

0

0

*

*

Myanmar

59

8

16

83

Mongolia

4

2

*

6*

Mauritania

0

0

*

*

Mauritius

1

0

*

1*

Malawi

0

0

*

*

Malaysia

23

18

20

61

Namibia

0

0

*

*

Nigeria

14

22

21

57

Nicaragua

0

0

*

*

Netherlands

0

0

*

*

Norway

0

0

*

*

Nepal

24

10

9*

34*

New Zealand

1

1

*

2*

Oman

0

0

*

*

Pakistan

931

667

438

2036

Peru

1

0

*

1*

Philippines

11

1

*

12*

Papua New Guinea

47

48

66

161

Poland

0

0

*

*

Dem. People's Rep. of Korea

0

1

*

1*

Palestinian

49

69

8*

118*

Russian Federation

7

4

*

11*

Rwanda

5

1

*

6*

Saudi Arabia

14

12

11*

26*

Sudan

7

8

*

15*

Senegal

1

1

*

2*

Singapore

0

0

*

*

Solomon Islands

0

1

*

1*

Sierra Leone

1

0

*

1*

El Salvador

1

0

*

1*

Somalia

4

5

*

9*

Serbia and Kosovo

0

0

*

*

South Sudan

0

0

*

*

Sweden

0

0

*

*

Seychelles

0

0

*

*

Syrian Arab Rep.

128

64

46*

192*

Chad

0

1

*

1*

Togo

0

0

*

*

Thailand

0

0

*

*

Tibetan

0

0

*

*

Tajikistan

0

0

*

*

Timor-Leste

0

0

*

*

Tonga

0

5

*

5*

Thailand

2

0

*

2*

Turkey

84

50

57

191

Tuvalu

0

0

*

*

United Rep. of Tanzania

0

0

*

*

Uganda

0

0

*

*

Ukraine

0

0

*

*

Uruguay

0

0

*

*

United States of America

1

0

5*

5*

Uzbekistan

5

2

*

7*

Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

0

0

*

*

Viet Nam

0

0

5*

5*

Samoa

0

0

*

*

Stateless

587

259

21

867

Various/Unknown

3

0

*

3*

Yemen

3

0

*

3*

South Africa

1

4

*

5*

Zambia

1

0

*

1*

Zimbabwe

73

63

*

136*

Top Five Resettlement Destinations

City (# of Refugees Settled between 2011 and May 2015[i]; City Population as of 2015; Refugee Percentage of Total Population)

  1. Fairfield NSW (4,873; 204,442[ii]; 2.38%)

  2. Hume Vic (2,754; 194,006[iii]; 1.42%)

  3. Liverpool NSW (2,186; 204,594[iv]; 1.07%)

  4. Logan Qld (1,786; 308,681[v]; .58%)

  5. Salisbury (1,461; 138,535[vi]; 1.05%)


[i] http://blog.id.com.au/2015/population/australian-demographic-trends/how-many-refugees-does-australia-take/?utm_campaign=Blog+article+notification&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=21845002&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9qmRVwHT6AQuaHiY4k_YIUs9xjhcRWW5gDMQllRDUZPi1GV4z9iqHp4Eux83-nl_yCb_LKZk3LQhJ9nADauB_0DXubehAqjpxNwLmZSiLM5hvj4Z0&_hsmi=21845002

[ii] http://profile.id.com.au/fairfield/population

[iii] http://profile.id.com.au/hume

[iv] http://profile.id.com.au/liverpool

[v] http://profile.id.com.au/logan

[vi][vi] http://profile.id.com.au/salisbury

Refugee Resettlement Diagram

Refugee Resettlement Overview

Australia settles refugees through several sub-sections of the Humanitarian Programme. The Humanitarian Programme is part of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection[i]:

Onshore Protection[ii]

The onshore protection part of the Humanitarian Programme gives asylum to those already in Australia. There are three visas available for people applying for onshore protection:

  • Protection visa, for those legally in Australia. This visa usually takes about 12 months to process.

  • Temporary Protection visa, for those in Australia illegally. This visa takes about 6 months to finalize.

  • Safe Haven Enterprise visa, for those illegally in Australia with intention to work or study. This visa takes about 6 months to finalize.

Offshore Resettlement

Offshore resettlement provides two types of visas for people facing persecution or violence in their homeland.

  • Refugee visas are offered to those in need of resettlement but without any family ties to Australia. Applicants are referred by the UNHCR. Recipients in this category can receive Refugee, In-country Special Humanitarian, Emergency Rescue, or Women at Risk visas.

  • Special Humanitarian Programme services people facing persecution who have immediate family or sponsors already in Australia. An applicant can be sponsored by an Australian citizen or permanent resident, a New Zealand citizen, or an organization based in Australia.


[i] https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Refu

[ii] https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Refu/Onsh

Lead Resettlement Organizations

Refugee Council of Australia

Established: The Refugee Council of Australia was formed in 1981. It is a non-profit and non-government organization.

Funding: The RCOA is funded by project grants from the government and other philanthropic organizations, as well as by contributions from its own members.

Office locations:

-Surry Hills NSW 2010

-Collingwood VIC 3066

Responsibilities and Functions: The RCOA works mainly to influence policy on refugees and asylum seekers. They carry out research in order to hold the position that policies should be humane and lawful. 

Leadership & Contacts:

            President: Phil Glendenning

            Vice President: Professor William Maley AM

            Secretary: Dr Ali Nur

            Treasurer: Adrian Graham

 

Australian Refugee Association[i]

Funding: ARA is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services’ Settlement Grants Programme. 

Main Office: Underdale SA 5032

Responsibilities and Functions: Australian Refugee Association’s mission is to “help refugees become settled and participating citizens of Australia.”[ii]

Leadership & Contacts

Chief Executive Officer: Kirtsen Bickendorf

Deputy CEO & Migration Manager: Semira Julardzija

Affiliates & Partners

            Home Start Finance

            Easy DNA

          

Sanctuary Australia Foundation[iii]

Established: Sanctuary Australia Foundation was established in 1988 by Sue and Peter Hallam. The organization was originally called the Sanctuary Refugee Support Group. 

Funding: Sanctuary Australia Foundation accepts donations from individuals. It has DGR (deductible gift recipients) status and all donations over two dollars are tax deductible.[iv]

Office locations: Coffs Harbour, NSW

Responsibilities and Functions: Sanctuary Australia Foundation helps raise funds to sponsor refugees and bring them to Australia. They also assist refugees with accessing basic necessities upon arrival.

Leadership & Contacts

            CEO, Co-Founder: Peter Hallam

            Secretary: Lani Carmody

            Treasurer: Glenn Pearce

Affiliates & Partners

            Microsoft

            Heaven & Earth

            Kelly Family Foundation

            The Body Shop Foundation


[i] http://www.australianrefugee.org/

[ii] http://www.australianrefugee.org/about-us-2/our-mission-vision/

[iii] http://www.sanctuaryaustraliafoundation.org.au/

[iv] http://www.sanctuaryaustraliafoundation.org.au/about/sanctuary-patrons/



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