TPV bill erodes safeguards: lawyer

Refugee lawyers will argue controversial migration law changes are a radical erosion of legal protections for asylum seekers.


The Senate Legal Affairs committee will hear from lawyers, human rights experts, Amnesty International and the immigration department at a Friday hearing in Canberra.

The committee has received 5712 public submissions on the federal government’s amendments to migration and maritime powers aimed at resolving a caseload of about 30,000 asylum seeker claims from the previous Labor government.

Refugee lawyer David Manne will tell the inquiry the bill represents a “radical” deviation from fundamental legal protections for vulnerable people seeking protection from human rights abuses.

The immigration department will explain the measures in the afternoon.

It will argue the federal government is not absolving Australia of its obligation to comply with international law.

“It is the government’s position that it is the executive government which is best placed to decide how to comply with these obligations, particularly in light of … operational activities at sea,” the department’s submission says.

The draft laws:

*Reintroduce temporary protection visas

*Enshrine asylum seeker boat turn backs into law

*Fast-track assessments and appeals

*Render asylum seeker babies born in Australia illegal maritime arrivals

*Head off implications from future High Court rulings

*Remove references to the United Nations Refugees Convention from the Migration Act and replace them with the federal government’s interpretation of Australia’s protection obligations.