More principles overboard: Labor should increase powers to protect, not remove

Labor’s rushed move to introduce the Migration Amendment (Removals and Other Measures) Bill is yet another attempt to deflect criticism from Peter Dutton rather than protect asylum seekers from being harmed by detention or dictatorial governments.

Like other aspects of the Migration Act this is more fundamentally flawed and draconian legislation that will allow the government to discriminate against non-citizens.

Instead of putting a conclusive end to indefinite detention, Labor is introducing a backdoor to maintain discriminatory and draconian powers.

Instead of standing up for human rights, the government wants powers to force asylum seekers to meet government officials of authoritarian powers. Previous attempts by Australian governments to bring Iranian, Chinese and Vietnamese government individuals into detention centres to identify “persons of interest” have been strongly resisted.

Why does the Albanese government want to send people back to countries like Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, or China that are well-known for their history of human rights abuses? Previous Liberal governments returned Afghan asylum seekers to danger in Afghanistan – many disappearing after being returned.

“Labor is about to make the same sort of mistakes if it pushes this legislation through,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

Labor has employed 47 lawyers to try to find ways to re-imprison those who have been released from detention following the NZYQ legislation, yet there are asylum seekers in detention who have waited over six years to get a decision on their protection claim.

Labor knows that the fast-track system introduced by Morrison is fundamentally flawed but has done nothing to review the cases that have wrongly been rejected.

“It is a farce that this legislation has anything to do with protecting the Australian community; it is all about Labor protecting itself from being attacked by the Liberals for being soft on refugees. As so often in the past, Labor is throwing more human rights principles overboard. This draconian legislation must be opposed,” said Rintoul.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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