15 April 2024

Fitzroy Legal Service is pleased to contribute to the parliamentary inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024 this April, drawing on its longstanding work with migrant community members, our migrant employment law clinic, and our newly launched migration law program.

In its submission, FLS raises serious misgivings about the proposed Bill highlighting its risk of non-compliance with Australia’s obligations under Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and significantly entrenching disadvantage for people seeking safety in Australia.

These concerns stem largely from the proposed unprecedented and immense powers endowed to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs with insufficient safeguards in place. This includes introducing the new power to do “anything the Minister deems reasonable” to facilitate a person’s removal, under the threat of a five-year jail term should the person fail to comply.

It also includes giving the Minister with the power to reverse previous protection findings at any time without adequate safeguards or procedural fairness, as well as the power to impose discriminatory travel ban on entire countries with little accountability.

As the submission reports, these undue powers give rise to a ‘black hole’ of accountability leaving all those it affects, including those fleeing persecution and torture, with the very real risk of indefinite detention, unfair deportation, and the denial of official pathways to seek safety in Australia.

These risks go directly against Australia’s obligations under international law and the protection of human rights.

FLS strongly recommend the Bill be withdrawn and the Commonwealth Government engage in a consultative process with community organisations and lived experience groups to develop pathways to community integration for those unable to return to their country of origin.

For more, read FLS’s submission in full.

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