Bill passes, Senate gives Morrison unchecked control over asylum seekers’ lives

With yesterday’s passing of a new immigration bill, Australia’s immigration minister, Scott Morrison, now has unprecedented powers over those who arrive here seeking refuge.

“With the passage of the new law, the minister can push any asylum seeker boat back into the sea and leave it there.

The minister can block an asylum seeker from ever making a protection claim on the ill-defined grounds of “character” or “national interest”. His reasons can be secret.

He can detain people without charge, or deport them to any country he chooses even if it is known they’ll be tortured there.

Morrison’s decisions cannot be challenged.”

“Refugee law is built upon the fundamental principle of non-refoulement, which forbids returning a person to their persecutors. It exists not only in the Refugees Convention, but in customary law. It is recognised by every country. Australian law now says: “it is irrelevant whether Australia has non-refoulement obligations in respect of an unlawful non-citizen”.

Stripped of the legalese, that paragraph says Australia is now entitled to return an asylum seeker to a country where they have been, or it is known they will be, tortured.

Click here to read the Guardian story.

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