The 2019 federal election will take place on 18 May 2019. The graphic and text below describe the asylum and refugee policies of the Coalition, Labor and The Greens.


Refugee intake

The Coalition will not change the current refugee intake (humanitarian program) of 18,750 places per year, which includes 1,000 community sponsorship places. This is in the context of a proposed reduction in permanent migration places from 190,000 to 160,000 for the next four years.

Both Labor and The Greens intend to increase the refugee intake substantially (to 27,000 and 50,000 respectively), and increase community sponsorship places (to 5,000 and 10,000 respectively), which would be in addition to the humanitarian program places.

Boat arrivals and offshore processing

The Coalition intends to continue operating the Manus Island and Nauru offshore processing facilities. They will not accept New Zealand’s offer to resettle 150 refugees from those centres, nor will they bring those on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia. They will continue to seek third country resettlement options. They intend to repeal the Medevac legislation and at the same time close the recently reopened Christmas Island processing centre, which was opened to house those transferred under the Medevac legislation. The Coalition will continue boat turnbacks.

The Labor party will also continue operating the Manus Island and Nauru offshore processing facilities, with enhanced oversight and medical intervention strategies in place, including an independent children’s advocate and independent health advice panel. They would accept New Zealand’s resettlement offer and would bring those on Manus and Nauru to the Australian mainland (not Christmas Island) in accordance with the Medevac legislation. They would seek third party resettlement options for those remaining on Manus Island and Nauru. They would also continue boat turnbacks.

The Greens are the only party proposing to close the Manus Island and Nauru offshore processing facilities and bring all those currently there to Australia. They would not continue boat turnbacks.


There would be no change to current detention practices by the Coalition, which have included both the mandatory and indefinite detention of asylum seekers and refugees.

Labor would introduce a 90-day detention limit while applications are being processed, applying to both adults and children.

The Greens would detain people for initial health and security screenings only, for a maximum period of seven days. They would then be accommodated in the community while their applications were processed. The Greens would also introduce an independent inspectorate for detention centres and have called for a Royal Commission into detention facilities.


There would be no change to the use of temporary protection visas by the Coalition. They would also continue the fast track assessment process.

Both Labor and The Greens would move away from temporary protection visas towards more permanent visas. They would both also end fast track processing. Labor has stated they would replace the Immigration Assessment Authority responsible for fast track assessments with a reinstated Refugee Review Tribunal.


The Coalition has committed to providing $39.5m to support the Regional Cooperation Arrangement with Indonesia, for managing refugees and asylum seekers.

Labor has proposed $450m over three years to UNHCR, while The Greens have proposed $500m over four years to UNHCR and other partner countries.

In terms of funding support for those in Australia awaiting a visa outcome, the Coalition provides SRSS payments (status resolution support services) at a rate of 89% of the Newstart allowance.

Labor would provide means-tested access, while The Greens have stated they would restore SRSS payments to be at the same rate as the Newstart allowance.


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Last updated 30 April 2019