find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Don't change Migration Act: ALHR

Don't change Migration Act: ALHR

The Federal Government should process asylum seekers onshore and not change legislation to accommodate offshore processing, according to the president of Australian Lawyers for Human…

The Federal Government should process asylum seekers onshore and not change legislation to accommodate offshore processing, according to the president of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights.

Stephen Keim SC said that in light of last week's landmark decision by the High Court, which ruled the Government's so-called Malaysia Solution to be invalid, and the advice of the Commonwealth Solicitor-General released earlier this week, onshore processing should now be the preferred option.

"Onshore processing is the legally certain, least expensive and most humane and principled way ahead for determining asylum-seeker claims," said Keim.

In the High Court decision handed down on 31 August, the Malaysia Solution was deemed unlawful as it did not provide adequate protection to those being sent to Malaysia.

In welcoming the decision, Keim said its significance lay with the fact that it "casts substantial legal uncertainty on a 10-year policy that has been proven to be morally deficient and economically wasteful".

He also said that given the High Court's reasoning, it is unlikely that any of Australia's neighbours - with the exception of New Zealand - would be suitable for processing Australia's asylum seekers.

"The fact remains that Australia, notwithstanding the shortcomings in its own approach to asylum seekers, is in the best position to meet its freely undertaken obligations under international law to ensure adequate human rights protections to people while they are pursuing their legitimate right to seek asylum from persecution," said Keim.

Keim also cautioned the Government against resurrecting the Nauru and Manus Island processing and detention - neither of which has been scrutinised by the High Court. Keim added that even though Nauru has recently acceded to the Refugee Convention, questions remain as to whether its domestic protections would satisfy the criteria under s198A of the Migration Act.

In discussing people smuggling, Keim said the efforts to address it should be centred on strategies that are truly regional in nature.

"These strategies should maximise disincentives for people to seek the services of people smugglers, thereby exposing themselves to the attendant risks. These strategies should at the same time respect and protect the rights and interests of refugees and asylum seekers," he said.

"The resettlement component of the Malaysia Agreement and the commitment of Australia and Malaysia to improve the quality of protection for refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia are the sorts of steps that would need to be part of a well thought out regional approach."

Keim urged the Government not to be tempted to undermine the High Court's decision through any "quick-fix" legislative tricks, and said any attempts to "by-pass" the decision would likely end up before the courts and further delay the development of a constructive and effective asylum seeker policy.

Keim also said any such moves would reflect poorly on Australia as an international contributor to addressing the global refugee protection deficit.

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

Don't change Migration Act: ALHR
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...