Media Release: Why Australia must adopt the Global Compact for Migration (GCM): A public letter to our parliamentarians

Today, in a public letter, 34 organisations, including civic society peak bodies, international NGOs, community groups, academia and faith-based organisations are calling on the government to adopt the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular Migration (GCM).

The GCM is a historic opportunity for global cooperation on issues surrounding international migration. On the 10th and 11th December, the GCM will be adopted by over 180 UN member states at an intergovernmental conference in Marrakech, Morocco.

All countries in the Asia-Pacific region will adopt the GCM with the exception of Australia.

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia’s Director, Carolina Gottardo, who attended most of the consultations and negotiations to develop the GCM, as a civil society representative said, “this public letter is a powerful demonstration of the broad civil society’s disappointment and concern about the Australian government’s recent decision to withdraw from the Global Compact for Migration. We will continue to hold the Australian government to account on these kinds of decisions.”

“For the Australian government to suggest that we do not need the rest of the world to manage the inherently international phenomenon of migration, is puzzling. No country can address migration on its own. Adopting the Global Compact for Migration is the right thing to do if we want to improve our cooperation with states in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. Adopting the Compact is also in the best interest of Australia, a nation built on the foundations of migration” Gottardo continued.

Amongst the other signatories are the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), the Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia (FECCA), the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), and Amnesty International Australia.

Paul Power, Chief Executive Officer of the Refugee Council said, “The Global Compact seeks to build international cooperation on migration matters, recognising the rights of people involved in migration and also the right of sovereign states to set their own policy.

‘Any Australian who takes the time to read the Global Compact will be surprised by the political controversy about it, particularly when they see that preamble clearly states its non-binding nature.” said Power.

Dr Graham Thom, Refugee Coordinator at Amnesty International said, “By refusing to sign the Global Compact on Migration, the Government is highlighting how woefully out of step it is with the rest of the world, while at the same time undermining Australia’s national interests by turning away from our region and our ability to work constructively to provide genuine solutions for people on the move.”


Please click here for the full text of our public letter.


List of signatories (in alphabetical order):

Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)
Act for Peace
Amnesty International Australia
Asylum Seekers Centre
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Australian Association of Social Workers
Australian Churches Refugees Taskforce (ACRT)
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)
Australian National Committee on Refugee Women (ANCORW)
Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project
Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA)
Catholic Mission
Caritas Australia
Common Grace
End Child Detention Coalition (ECDC)
Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia (FECCA)
Hazara Women of Australia
International Detention Coalition (IDC)
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia
Jesuit Social Services
Justice for Refugees SA
Love Makes A Way
Pacific Focal Point GCM, Pacific Civil Society
Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS)
Refugee Council of Australia
Refugee Nurses of Australia
Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) Australia (National)
Settlement Services International (SSI)
Social Responsibilities Committee, Anglican Church of South Queensland
St Francis Social Services (House of Welcome)
St Vincent De Paul Society National Council
UNICEF Australia
Uniting Church Assembly in Australia
UNSW Forced Migration Research Network



JRS Australia – Anne Rutherford (Media)
M: 0435 941 260

Amnesty International – Jenny Stopher (Media)

Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) – Frankie Harrington (Media)
M: 0488 035 535


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