The national lobby group, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA), came out in support of the Rudd Government last week. FECCA hailed the ‘restoration of the human rights of refugees’ following last week’s federal parliament sitting.
New laws were passed last week abolishing the refugee detention debts instituted by the Howard Government, thereby ending what FECCA describes as ‘the cruel, inhumane and ineffective system of billing immigration detainees for their stay in detention.’
In a clear reversal of the previous federal government’s draconian immigration and refugee laws, the senate voted down attempts to overturn reforms that restore equitable work rights for asylum seekers in Australia.
The Rudd Government also introduced new laws to better protect refugees at further risk of ‘death, torture and inhumane treatment’ if deported. Voula Messimeri, AM, FECCA Chair said, “It is terrific news that Australia is in the process of restoring decency and a human rights focus to our immigration and refugee policies.”
“Australia can again begin to hold its head high as a country that treats people who are often fleeing persecution, misery and worse with more dignity and respect.
“We look forward to seeing further reforms under the Government and also participating in reinstating and redeveloping Australia’s multicultural policies in the coming months”, said Ms Messimeri who also sits on the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council headed by AFL Boss Andrew Dimitriou.
It is expected that the Council will be presenting the federal government with a new policy doccument on the way forward with multiculturalism.