As voters prepare for a federal election, the Kaldor Centre’s updated Principles for Australian Refugee Policy offer an important, evidence-backed benchmark at a critical juncture.

These Principles show how Australia can respond to the crises of tomorrow and today, including the millions of people recently forced from their homes by the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

We are at a moment like no other. As the Preface to the new edition notes:

‘In Australia, extended lockdowns and border closures during COVID-19 meant that for the first time, many people had an insight into some of the deprivations that are hallmarks of displacement – the inability to cross borders lawfully, loss of liberty, confinement, separation from family and friends, and extreme uncertainty. But whereas for them, these measures were temporary, for many refugees and other displaced people, such limbo is permanent. 

‘With Australia’s borders reopened, we now have a particular opportunity – indeed, responsibility – to rethink and reset Australia’s asylum policies, drawing on this newfound understanding.’

An approach that is humane and manageable is possible. 

The Kaldor Centre Principles for Australian Refugee Policy explain the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’, with examples of best practice from around the world. 

We hope these revised and updated Principles are a valuable resource for the public and policymakers, to help start conversations and shape better policy.

Explore the Principles in full and summary form.

Image credit: UNHCR/Saikat Mojumder