Executive Summary: Outlining a threat to human rights

The Society is strongly opposed to these amendments. They remove a range of legislated human rights currently held by asylum seekers who risk significant harm if they are sent to another country. This includes the right to a visa, the right to appeal a decision, and the right not to be sent to one’s country of citizenship where there is a real risk that the country will then send the person on to a third country that will violate their human rights.

Removing these rights from legislation, and placing them at the discretion of a Minister, poses several problems. First, simply, it means that there is no longer a right under Australian law not to be deported to a country in which a person will face significant harm (as defined by complementary protection). Secondly, it places a great deal of power into the hands of one Minister, in a fashion that is not at all transparent, and is not reviewable. This threatens the rule of law. Finally, we are concerned by several comments of Minister Morrison regarding the focus in complementary protection reform on how people arrive here, or whether they have broken the law in their home country. Neither of these considerations is relevant to whether we have a duty to offer them protection from serious harm.