Media Releases

FECCA makes submission to the Inquiry into the Status of the Human Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief

14 February 2017

FECCA has made a submission to the Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into the Status of the Human Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief urging Parliament to resist any legislation designed to curb the freedom of religious practice and belief.

FECCA has made a submission to the Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into the Status of the Human Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief urging Parliament to resist any legislation designed to curb the freedom of religious practice and belief.

Joe Caputo, Chairperson of FECCA said: ‘Australian Governments have an obligation to ensure religious freedom.’

‘It is critical to respect religious freedoms in Australia and to resist any attempts to restrict or prohibit the wearing of religious attire and the availability of food with religious and cultural significance,’ he continued.

‘These freedoms form the basis of Australia’s tolerant, harmonious and respectful multicultural society,’ said Mr Caputo.

In its submission, FECCA called on the Government to encourage inter-faith dialogue to promote understanding between Australians of all beliefs and repeated its commitment to the establishment of Federal legislation to protect religious freedoms.

FECCA also highlighted examples of good practice in Australia.

‘The Australian Defence Force has set an admirable example by prioritising cultural awareness and maintaining open, inclusive and non-discriminatory policies,’ said Mr Caputo.

FECCA expressed its deep concern about the persecution of cultural and religious groups overseas and acknowledged the Government’s policy to increase the humanitarian intake.

Mr Caputo emphasised: ‘Priority must be given to refugees based on need alone, irrespective of their religious, cultural or linguistic background.’

FECCA is the national peak body representing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. FECCA’s role is to advocate and promote issues on behalf of its constituency to government, business and the broader community.

Media contact: (0424) 910617 / emma@fecca.org.au

FECCA expresses concerns about proposal to grant broad, discretionary powers on immigration

9 February 2017

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) opposes any proposal to allow for broad, discretionary ministerial powers to review, restrict or cancel visas for people based on membership of a particular community.

Chairperson of FECCA, Joe Caputo said: ‘The expansion of ministerial discretion to allow a visa to be refused or revoked on the basis of nationality or residency threatens the integrity of our immigration system.’

FECCA is concerned about the powers to be granted to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection in proposed amendments to the Migration Act that allow the minister to “identify any group of people based on a shared common characteristic or circumstance,” and review their visa status.

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) opposes any proposal to allow for broad, discretionary ministerial powers to review, restrict or cancel visas for people based on membership of a particular community.

Chairperson of FECCA, Joe Caputo said: ‘The expansion of ministerial discretion to allow a visa to be refused or revoked on the basis of nationality or residency threatens the integrity of our immigration system.’

FECCA is concerned about the powers to be granted to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection in proposed amendments to the Migration Act that allow the minister to “identify any group of people based on a shared common characteristic or circumstance,” and review their visa status.

Mr Caputo said: ‘We must protect the foundations of Australia’s immigration system, a system based on transparency and impartiality.’

‘An equitable and open immigration system in Australia has contributed to Australia’s harmonious and successful multicultural society. The integrity of our immigration system is internationally recognised and respected.’

Mr Caputo continued: ‘Decisions that restrict travel to Australia on the broad basis of nationality, residence or membership of a particular community must be subject to parliamentary scrutiny and not be at the behest of ministerial discretion.’

‘These discretionary powers could allow for the targeting of communities on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion,’ he said.

FECCA is the national peak body representing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. FECCA’s role is to advocate and promote issues on behalf of its constituency to government, business and the broader community.

Media contact: (0424) 910617 / emma@fecca.org.au