Mar 18, 2013

Crikey Clarifier: is an appeal a free ride for asylum seekers?

Just why is it that so many of the protection visa applications that get rejected by the department of immigration get overturned on appeal? Crikey asked the experts.

Amber Jamieson — Freelance journalist in New York

Amber Jamieson

Freelance journalist in New York

Every few months the same story appears in the media: about 90% of asylum seekers who had protection visa claims rejected by the Department of Immigration get them overturned on appeal. Cue claims that any asylum seeker arriving by boat will almost certainly be allowed to remain in Australia.

Or, as opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison told The Australian: “Under Labor’s appeals process a ‘no’ almost always turns into a ‘yes’ and the prize of permanent residence for people who arrive illegally by boat.”

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6 thoughts on “Crikey Clarifier: is an appeal a free ride for asylum seekers?

  1. oldskool

    What does not appear to have been mentioned is that the ‘appeal’ does not have to be on the same grounds as the original DIAC assessment. ie. if a refugee was claiming throughout their DIAC interview process that they are a Christian and therefore subject to persecution, their ‘appeal’ can be on the basis that they are Gay and therefore subject to persecution. I am of the opinion that as a nationa we should be doing more for these refugee’ however I feel that DIAC is getting unfairly criticised in this article.

    Disclaimer- I do not currently work for DIAC, but I know many many people who do, especially in this field

  2. shepherdmarilyn

    oldskook that is simply crap. If people change the basis for the protection visa they are called liars and frauds and endlessly denied.

    So what you are doing is lying just like DIAC do.

  3. shepherdmarilyn

    And what is not said in the article is that the figures have been available for at least a month and that in the September to December quarter of last year Afghans were being accepted at a rate of 87% on DIAC interviews alone and 90% of the 13% refused were accepted on appeal.

    At that rate that means 87 per 100 Afghans were accepted by DIAC as refugees, then 11.7 of the remaining 13 were accepted on appeal.

    Which means that 98.7% of all Afghan applicants were found to be refugees. But we spent about $500 million a year to try and prove otherwise.

  4. ulysses butterfly

    It may be that DIAC staff and independent assessors have been worded up in the past to enforce a political cap, instead of focusing exclusively on the grounds for refugee status under our treaty obligations. In other words taking into account a strictly irrelevant factor because the cap is a political matter, not a legal or treaty criteria as to refugee status which is their task.

    If an assessor is tempted by the cap into the gotcha approach about alleged inconsistencies in a refugee’s story chances are it will end up an appeal where more serious intellectual rigour is applied to the “inconsistency”.

    And there is a big problem applying an ill suited gotcha interview technique regarding inconsistency, more suited to a domestic criminal investigation methodology around police work. A misdirected approach because in the refugee sector inconsistency of story is just as likely due to failure of memory around torture events and post traumatic stress disorder not least the numbing effect of shock – how unsurprising; or psychological problems from detention witnessing self harms all over the place – bound to play with the mind; or the diabolical complexity of the politics of survival in countries under the heel of ultra violent regimes. In those places every angle of deceit and exploitation is practiced across the ethnic and political spectrum in societies broken by distrust. In that context a refugee’s story may be objectively very confusing and confused because violence is like that.

    The assessors are supposed to be across these complexities but some of the naive comments you read seem oblivious to nuanced political dramas, paramilitary double think, check points just to travel around, and oppressive fear under such regimes. Rather you get the impression they’ve run away from a jolly picnic in a fair ordered land under Queensbury rules, so there must be something deceitful in their inconsistency. Just as likely it is the assessor who is being unrealistic, and further time and analysis proves this up.

  5. oldskool


    I agree with a lot of your stand regarding refugee’s however, I have seen what I am talking about, you call crap- prove it- you can’t because it is you who are full of crap this time, and other times you have sprouted forth as well. You cannot change peoples opinions, or add to intelligent debate by forcing you own doctrine in place of rational argument. I have pointed out a major process in the ‘appeal’ to an independant body, and you call crap, well prove it, otherwise stop lying to make your point.

    By the way, when it comes to Hazara, Kurds and Tamils in particular I do not understand how we cannot find them to be in need of protection.

    I personally believe we should be increasing our humanitarian intake, sending our IMA processing teams to Malaysia and Indonesia and working through the backlog there, THAT, is the way to stop the boats, anything else is empty rhetoric or racism masquerading as ‘good policy’.

  6. Clarke Steve


    Welcome to the club. This sounds like your first insult from Marilyn. But it is not a very exclusive club, as Marilyn has thrown some sort of abuse at anyone commenting on refugees(and it makes no difference if you are sympathetic to the plight of refugees or not).

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