Senate debates

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Bills

Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014; In Committee

11:47 pm

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

The Greens oppose schedule 5 in the following terms:

(5) Schedule 5, page 90 (line 1) to page 100 (line 16), to be opposed.

I know everybody is keen to get out of here, and we are moving through the amendments as quickly as we can, so I will continue. This amendment is in relation to deleting schedule 5, which is the schedule that removes the refugee convention from the Migration Act, effectively allowing the minister of the day, the government, to determine what a refugee is, the definition of a refugee, and how international law will be applied in this country. It is an abusive use of power by this minister. It would be a fundamental change to the way Australia deals with our obligations under international law and would send a significant message to the international community that Australia does not care about the refugee convention. This schedule cannot stand the way it is. It is wrong to delete the refugee convention from Australia's law books. It does not matter how much you want to spin it. Why does it need to be done? Because Minister Morrison does not want to have to abide by the obligations as outlined by the refugee convention. If he did, it would not matter. We asked the department, during the inquiry into this, when has this ever occurred before, where you put in the government of the day's own interpretation of our obligations under international law?

They could not tell us, because it has not happened. Why hasn't it happened? Because it is wrong. When we abide by international law you put that in your legislation, you say we stick by the convention and you get on and stick by the rules you have signed up to. The schedule should be deleted.

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