Adam speaks against new laws to detain refugees indefinitely

 I rise to oppose the Migration Amendment Bill 2013 on behalf of the Greens and to record our shame and disgust that Labor is now supporting a position that will see people who may have done nothing wrong at all locked up for years on end. 

This is Kafka on steroids. If this legislation passes, it will mean that someone who comes here seeking our help and is told, 'No, we can't help you because there is a security assessment,' and who then says: 'I think that's not right, I want to challenge it. Tell me why you say I can't be here,' will be told, 'No, we can't tell you because that is a matter of national security.' When this was raised under the previous government, it was rightly acknowledged that there was a problem. It was acknowledged that this puts people in a legal limbo where they are denied the basic right that every other Australian citizen has, which is to know the case against you and to be able to have it challenged and reviewed independently. There were some steps taken—albeit, we would say, insufficient—to put in place a process of independent review so that someone who was in that legal limbo could at least have their case heard, if not bindingly determined. This legislation not only takes that away but puts people who are coming here seeking our help in a situation that no Australian citizen would ever want to be in: you end up in a situation where you do not know the case against you and you have no right to challenge it. 


This legislation is an affront to the basic principles of the rule of law, and for a party that calls themselves 'liberal', this is reactionary. There is nothing liberal about saying that an individual, whether or not they are a citizen of the country, has no right to know the case against them, but that is exactly what this government is doing. This bill seeks to amend Australia's rigorous refugee determination process by overturning a number of High Court and Federal Court decisions, and the amendment is inconsistent with Australia's international obligations. It does not afford procedural fairness and it further entrenches the practice of indefinitely detaining men, women and children who have been found to be genuine refugees but who are deemed a 'security threat'.

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