find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Competition, Policy & Regulatory
Category: Other | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Work with a well regarded Partner · Sydney CBD
View details
Commercial Litigation Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Lawyers Weekly Australia Partner of the Year 2016, Insolvency
View details
MULTIPLEX Regional Legal Counsel (Vic) | 7 to 10 years + PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Career defining in-house role · Tier One international contractor
View details
Junior Lawyer - Personal Injury Law
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Parramatta & Western Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Highly specialized practice · Challenging role with great opportunities
View details
IR Advisor/Member Advocate
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: St Leonards NSW 2065
· Permanent (0.8-1.0 FTE) role in a developing team
View details
PNG asylum deal falls short of rule of law

PNG asylum deal falls short of rule of law

The Law Council of Australia (LCA) and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) have criticised the lack of appeal rights for asylum seekers under the Government’s new Regional Settlement Arrangement._x000D_

The Law Council of Australia (LCA) and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) have criticised the lack of appeal rights for asylum seekers under the Government’s new Regional Settlement Arrangement.

The existing processing framework in Papua New Guinea does not reflect rule of law principles because of the current absence of appeal rights, said LCA president Michael Colbran QC.

“[An appeal] mechanism was a recommendation of the Government’s own Expert Panel on this issue,” said Colbran, adding that there is a continued lack of clarity about the processing framework’s conformity to Australia’s obligations under the Refugee Convention.

A recent report from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ monitoring visit to Manus Island highlighted shortcomings in the applicable legal framework, as well as harsh physical conditions.

The LCA understands only a small number of officials having recently received training to undertake the processing of the asylum seekers currently detained.

“The rule of law requires that everyone should have access to a lawyer to establish and defend their rights and that the Government should provide such access where an individual does not have the necessary means.

“There are reports that only one firm of lawyers and migration agents will be providing this service and this will clearly not be adequate if the numbers of asylum seekers in PNG increase,” said Colbran.

The first group of asylum seekers, 40 mainly Iranian and Afghan single men, flew from Christmas Island to Manus Island, landing yesterday morning (1 August). Large tents capable of sleeping 30 people are reportedly being assembled, along with industrial-sized kitchens.

The new ‘hardline’ policy, announced by the Rudd Government on 19 July, denies asylum seeker boat arrivals entry to Australia and sends them to PNG for processing and potential resettlement there.

“It has to be grossly inconsistent with the UN Refugee Convention. Australia would be better to tear it up than to act in this way,” said the president of the CLA, Alex Ward (pictured), citing the Government’s Smartraveller website, which recommends a “high degree of caution in PNG because of high levels of serious crime” targeting foreigners.

“So you don’t want [asylum seekers] to die at sea but you want to send them into a place where you know they’ll be then liable to gang rape or abuse of that nature?”

Ward was highly critical of both sides of Australian politics for politicising the issue of asylum seekers coming to Australia via boat.

“This is madness. These are the people who are seeking our assistance, that we said could do so, because of what happened in World War II when everyone was appalled,” he said.

Lawyers have acknowledged that the Government’s changes to the Migration Act, to repeal a provision central to the High Court decision against the Malaysian Solution, may make it difficult to successfully challenge the PNG agreement.

Unlike Malaysia, PNG is a party to the 1951 UN Refugees Convention, but there is no regional human rights infrastructure or other mechanisms in place to ensure basic common standards for processing and protection will be met in the region.

For these reasons, Colbran said the LCA would urgently seek advice from the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General on how the arrangement complies with Australia’s international obligations.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

PNG asylum deal falls short of rule of law
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Human body, illegal organ trafficking, ALHR
Australia poised to combat illegal organ harvesting: ALHR
The Australian Lawyers for Human Rights are calling for changes to the law so that organ trafficking...
Online service, barristers, BarristerSELECT, Stephen Foley
New online service leverages barristers’ clerks to aid briefing
A new online tool has been launched to help NSW solicitors find the most suitable barristers for the...
NSW District Court judge, Tim Gartelmann SC, next appointment,
Silk replaces outgoing NSW District Court judge
A barrister has been named as the next appointment to the NSW District Court, following the retireme...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...