The Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014, is currently before Parliament. It is expected that it will be voted on in November. As well as the proposal to reintroduce TPVs, this bill contains a lot of very distrurbing amendments to the Migration Act:
If passed, the bill will:
• Remove references to the UN Refugee Convention from the Migration Act and replace them with ‘Australia’s interpretation of international law
• Remove the ability of the High Court to challenge refugee policy and operations
• Exempt Customs/ Navy/ Border Force boats from maritime laws. This will allow actions such as removing safety devices, food, water and fuel from asylum-seeking boats.
• Allow the Government to send boats or individuals anywhere it chooses. The bill removes the need for Australia to have a Memorandum of Understanding in place with countries in the region, or for the country to be a signatory to the Refugee Convention. It also allows boats to be towed to a “place” that is not another country. It would allow boats to be towed beyond Australian waters and just left there without regard for safety.
• Establish a fast track assessment process which removes access to the Refugee Review Tribunal and provides very limited review processes. Fast turnaround processing was ruled illegal in the United Kingdom in July 2014 as it carried an “unacceptable risk of unfairness”.
• Classify children born in Australia, to asylum seekers who arrived by boat, as “transitory persons”, giving them no access to permanent residency or citizenship.
• Change the definition of ‘refugee’ to allow the government to deny a claim for refugee status if it decides that there is a ‘safe area’ in the country of origin, or that the nation’s police force is ‘reasonably effective’.
• Allow the Australian government to return / remove people regardless of non-refoulement obligations.
We all need to write to our state Senators and to the cross bench Senators and tell them that if they vote for this bill, they will be voting for Australia’s domestic law to authorise human rights abuses. Ask the Libs to cross the floor, and ask the Nationals to think for themselves! Write to Clive and ask him what he was thinking when he helped Morrison craft this horrendous bill.
Use some of the points above, but use your own words. Include something personal about yourself. “As a parent of three children…” “As someone who is interested in history…” “As a twenty year-old with a long future of voting ahead of me….” Anything you can think of to give it a connection to a real voter.
Here are the addresses for the cross bench Senators and Clive Palmer. Paper letters in envelopes are best, but please email rather than doing nothing. Make sure you include your name and address.
You’ll find the other Senators for your state here. You can search by state by using the map. Then click on their names for contact details.
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