As Election Day Approaches, Keep Refugees at The Forefront of your Mind

The Federal Election in Australia is now less than a week away, with early voting already open (if you’re eligible to vote early, find out where you can do so here)

Many election issues will impact refugees – from the obvious policies on offshore processing of people seeking asylum and refugees, to broader immigration and foreign affairs policies, to climate change (read our blog on how the climate emergency affects refugees here)

At Welcome Merchant, advocating for refugees and people seeking asylum comes first. We have put together a succinct guide on where the Liberal/National Coalition, Labor and The Greens stand on some major issues that affect refugees and people seeking asylum this election, so that you can make the most informed decision at the polling booth on Saturday.


THE LNP will (proudly, it seems) continue to support the offshore processing of refugees and people seeking asylum.

LABOR will also maintain the offshore processing of refugees and people seeking asylum at Christmas Island.

THE GREENS state that they want an end to mandatory indefinite detention, and to abolish offshore processing. They are clear that they want to end all punitive and discriminatory treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum.


THE LNP will increase intake of permanent migrants to around 160,000 a year. They state this is to aid Australia’s economic recovery and respond to skills shortages.

LABOR state that the size of Australia’s intake of migrants in recent years has been harmful to Australian workers, causing unemployment. Labor’s plan is to have a migration policy that apparently “puts Australian workers first”, which, translated, means cutting back on migrant intake.

THE GREENS want a permanent migration program for refugees and migrants that prioritises humanitarian entrants and families being reunited. They are clear that resettlement to Australia should occur within a reasonable time period.

Election Scorecard developed by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC).


THE LNP will decrease spending on foreign affairs and economic aid by 3.2% over the next year – and this will continue to decrease to a whopping 19% over the following next three years to 2026.

LABOR state that they will increase aid as a percentage of Gross National Income every year that they are in office, beginning with their first budget.

THE GREENS state that they will increase Australia’s aid budget to 0.7% of Gross National Income by 2030.


THE LNP won’t commit to any targets to reduce emissions, even though Scott Morrison says Australia is set to reduce emissions by 35% below 2005 levels by 2030. Instead, the LNP are committing to a target of reducing emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels, which is modest compared to the goals of other wealthy countries.

LABOR’s Powering Australia plan will “maximise the benefits of new technology, cheaper energy, new job opportunities and cheaper low-emission vehicles”. Modelling shows that Powering Australia will create 604,000 jobs, result in cheaper electricity bills and, importantly, reduce emissions by 43% by 2030, which aligns with a goal of net zero by 2050.

THE GREENS advocate for immediate climate action. They are calling for a 75% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2035.

For more information about how your values align with the policies of these parties, make sure you visit ABC’s vote compass here.