Senate debates

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Bills

Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2012; In Committee

8:06 pm

Photo of Christine MilneChristine Milne (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

In the minister's second reading speech there is this clear statement:

Under the interpretation of the law set out by the High Court last month, the removal from Australia of an unaccompanied minor is practically extremely difficult, if not impossible.

That is what this is trying to get around, the fact that it is practically impossible for the minister to be able to currently remove an unaccompanied child from Australia because the minister has to sign to do so and that is challengeable in the courts. That is why the minister now wants to be exempted from those responsibilities under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, under the guardianship legislation. As the minister has said herself, this is about making it easier for the government to be able to send unaccompanied children out of Australia, and the minute they leave Australia they will have no guardian. So we, Australia, send those children somewhere else, and the minister who has sent them somewhere else does not have to sign on the dotted line to do so, is not challenged in the courts to do so and has no guardianship responsibilities once the child is sent somewhere else, like to Nauru, PNG or anywhere else.

Minister, article 3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child requires Australia to ensure that 'the best interests of the child are a primary consideration in any action involving the child'. How does sending an unaccompanied minor, a child, from Christmas Island to Nauru and keeping them there in indefinite detention, as the minister has said is what will happen, demonstrate that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration in any action involving the child? How is that in the best interests of the child?

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