Supplementary 2020-21 Pre-Budget Submission: Measures required to ensure migrant and refugee women’s inclusion in COVID-19 response and recovery
COVID-19 pandemic—and the ensuing economic crisis—has disproportionately impacted migrant and refugee women’s economic security, access to safety, health, justice, and education. This submission outlines a range of proposed measures to ensure women from migrant and refugee backgrounds are adequately included in COVID-19 response and recovery initiatives in 2020-2021 financial year.
Harmony Alliance believes that in order to achieve positive outcomes for migrant and refugee women in all their diversity, intersectionality should be incorporated in all spheres of policy and practice, from legal rights to provision of services. We encourage and commend the embedding of the principles of intersectionality—including ongoing reflection, substantive representation, and commitment to equity—in policy and practice. This statement, informed by our members’ responses to Intersectionality Discussion Paper (January 2020) and earlier discussions within the Alliance, lays out what intersectionality means to us as migrant and refugee women.
Submission to inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence
Migrant and refugee women are disproportionately affected by domestic, family and sexual violence due to compounding barriers and intersections of multiple forms of systemic disadvantage—including on the basis of migration status, race, culture, religion, language, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and disability. Any national plan to reduce the occurrence of family, domestic, and sexual violence against women in Australia must address migrant and refugee women’s concerns at structural level.
Submission to Public Consultation on National Stillbirth Action and Implementation Plan
We welcome the recognition of migrant and refugee women’s health concerns and needs—including higher risk factors and additional barriers to accessing healthcare—in the National Stillbirth Action and Implementation Plan. In this submission, we offer recommendations to ensure provision of high quality, safe, accessible, equitable, and culturally responsive care and support to women from migrant and refugee backgrounds who are bereaved or at high risk of experiencing stillbirth.
Submission to Inquiry into the Australian Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Migrant and refugee women have been significantly affected by the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government response to the pandemic has been inadequate in providing reliable support to many migrant and refugee women, particularly those experiencing income loss and/or family and domestic violence while on temporary visas.
This issues paper was prepared by Harmony Alliance and the Australasian Centre for Human Rights and Health, as part of a collaborative project to develop a national community-led framework to prevent dowry abuse in Australia. The project is funded by the Department of Social Services through its Community-led Projects to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children grant, as part of the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. It will be delivered from 2020 to 2022.
Submission to Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System
Migrant and refugee women face significant structural barriers to accessing justice—including through the Family Law System—in Australia. These barriers include inadequate or insufficient access to interpreting services, low levels of systems literacy in a new country, complex interactions between migration regulations and family law system, and limited access to specialist legal aid and advice services. All of these factors impact migrant and refugee women’s access to justice, particularly in situations of family and domestic violence and family breakdown. A family law system reform must take these barriers into account and provide sufficient resources and training to all entities involved in family law proceedings to ensure that the family law system is accessible to those with special cultural and linguistic needs.
Submission to the consultation on National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-24
We welcome the opportunity to make a submission to the consultation on National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-2024. Trafficking, forced marriage, and modern slavery—practices identified by the consultation paper—often intersect with migration, and since women are overrepresented amongst victims of these practices, the national action plan to combat these practices must be considerate and inclusive of the perspectives and experiences of migrant and refugee women.
Submission to the second consultation on Religious Discrimination Bill
This submission highlights our concerns as migrant and refugee women regarding the proposed bill, particularly the impacts on our right to healthcare, mental and physical well-being, and equal opportunities to work and study. The Harmony Alliance is strongly opposed to the bill in its current form as it infringes upon the principles of integrity and fundamental human rights and will disproportionately affect us as migrant and refugee women.
There are several factors that contribute to significantly lower retirement income levels for migrant and refugee women. The retirement income review, therefore, must consider the multiple and compounded disadvantages and vulnerabilities faced by migrant and refugee women. We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the consultation on retirement income review and respond to some of the specific aspects raised by the consultation paper in this submission.
Submission to the Inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia
The unemployment rate for women who have migrated to Australia sits at 6.3 per cent compared with 5.4 per cent for all Australian women and migrant men, jumping to 6.7 per cent for women who speak a language other than English at home. This highlights the additional barriers that women from migrant and refugee backgrounds face in seeking to enter the workforce, and the need for adequate income support and other social security payments to assist this cohort to secure ongoing employment.
Indigenous Australians represent the oldest living civilisation on earth. We acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the custodians of this land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We commit to this acknowledgement on an ongoing basis in a manner that is meaningful in our everyday practice and conversations. It is a commitment of the Harmony Alliance to ensure that the starting point of any conversation we have in relation to the rights of migrant and refugee women is firmly centred around the broader conversation on the rights of First Nations women and First Nations people.
A strategic approach to improving employment outcomes of women from migrant and refugee backgrounds in Australia
Promoting meaningful participation in the workforce by women from migrant and refugee backgrounds produces a win-win situation – boosting workforce performance while improving quality of life for individuals. This strategic approach seeks to contribute to facilitating better employment outcomes of women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. It is intended as a recommended roadmap for what better outcomes would look like, and what steps need to be taken in order to achieve these.
Working Together for Equality: NGO Beijing+25 Review 2019
Jointly drafted with 51 other organisations, networks, alliances, and individuals, “Working Together for Equality Beijing+25 Review 2019: Australia” is part of the ongoing Australian Civil Society monitoring and evaluation of women’s rights commitments made by the Australian Government and Civil Society to the advancement of women through use of agreed strategies from the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA) (1995), and the Beijing+5 Outcomes Document (2000). The purpose of this document is to measure Australia’s progress in the last 5 years (2014 – 2019) against the BPFA 25 years since it was agreed in 1995.
Blueprint for Reform: Removing Barriers to Safety for Victims/Survivors of Domestic and Family Violence who are on Temporary Visas
Harmony Alliance is a member of the National Advocacy Group on Women on Temporary Visas Experiencing Violence, that consists of over 50 state and national peak bodies, service providers and other organisations working to address violence against women across Australia. The Blueprint has been developed and endorsed by the group with an aim to collectively advocate for policy and law changes to support women on temporary visas experiencing violence and their children to be safe.
Australia is a thriving multicultural society. Migration has been instrumental to Australia’s growth, with 49 per cent of Australians either born overseas or with at least one parent born overseas. All levels of our society have benefitted from the skills and diversity that migrants bring to Australia.
Women from all backgrounds have the right to live free from violence
5 March 2019
The Harmony Alliance has today welcomed the strong funding commitments announced by the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, the Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, and the Minister for Families and Social Services, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, as part of the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.
Submission to the Review into integration, employment and settlement outcomes for refugees and humanitarian entrants
Harmony Alliance: Migrant and Refugee Women for Change welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Review into integration, employment and settlement outcomes for refugees and humanitarian entrants.
The Harmony Alliance: Migrant and Refugee Women for Change conducted the inaugural Migrant and Refugee Women’s Voices Survey in partnership with SBS and SBS Radio over six weeks between May and July 2018.
Submission to the Consultation on the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030
Migrant and Refugee Women’s Health Partnership and Harmony Alliance: Migrant and Refugee Women for Change welcome the opportunity to make a joint submission to the consultation on the draft National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030.
Submission to Department of Social Services consultation process regarding the development of the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022
As part of the Alliance’s commitment to advocate for better health and wellbeing of women from migrant and refugee backgrounds, we held four consultations in the lead up to the development of the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.
Submission to the Inquiry into the appropriateness and effectiveness of the objectives, design, implementation and evaluation of jobactive.
The Alliance welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the submission to the Senate Education and Employment Commitees regarding the appropriateness and effectiveness of the objectives, design, implementation and evaluation of jobactive.
Open Letter to Female Members of Parliament and Senators
22 May 2018
An open letter calling upon the female Members of Parliament and Senators to oppose proposed changes to Social Services legislation that would see new permanent residents of Australia wait four years before being eligible to access many crucial welfare payments.
The Harmony Alliance has this evening welcomed a series of measures announced in the 2018 federal budget aimed at improving the lives of Australian women. The Alliance has, however, expressed concern at the lack of focus on the needs of women from migrant and refugee backgrounds.
Submission to the Inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Commitments for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2018
27 April 2018
The Alliance welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee regarding the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Commitments for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2018.
Submission to Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Encouraging Self-sufficiency for Newly Arrived Migrants) Bill 2018
18 April 2018
The Alliance welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs Committee regarding the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Encouraging Self-sufficiency for Newly Arrived Migrants) Bill 2018
International Women’s Day 2018 - Response to Government and Opposition policy priorities
19 March 2018
The Harmony Alliance reiterates its commitment to working with the Government and the Opposition to improve experiences and outcomes for women in Australia from migrant and refugee backgrounds, including women seeking asylum.
The Harmony Alliance has today called on the Australian Governments to prioritise for further research the experiences of violence by women of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, after the release of the Australian Institute on Health and Welfare report on Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence 2018.
Increased waiting periods to keep women out of work
19 December 2017
The Harmony Alliance has today expressed concern at the Government’s announcement that it will seek to increase waiting periods to three years before new migrants can access many welfare payments, and introduce a three-year waiting period to access Family Tax Benefit, Paid Parental Leave and Carer Allowance.
AWAVA and Harmony Alliance call on the Government to facilitate the implementation of actions and commitments made in the Third Action Plan 2016-19 of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.