The Australian High Court ruled that the Gillard government’s planned swap of asylum seekers with Malaysia was illegal. Despite that decision, Gillard stated that her government was determined to pursue the arrangements it has made earlier with Malaysia.
The government is now seeking to change section 198a of the migration act, which is to lower the threshold in relation to human rights standards.
“The amendments we will bring to the parliament will be broad amendments which will restore to executive government the ability to make the arrangements that it sees fit, for the transfer and processing of asylum seekers in third countries,” she stated
Gillard also said the proposed changes to the act would allow the government to use former detention centers at Nauru and Manus Island for offshore processing.
Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young remained opposed to sending the new arrivals overseas.
“They can change whatever domestic law they like, if they can get that through parliament, dumping vulnerable people especially children in Malaysia, where their rights would not be protected was a breach of the UN refugee convention and the convention on the rights of the child.”
The people covered by this law are seeking asylum in Australia, a sanctuary to be safe from something. There is no doubt they are jumping the queue, in front of people who are waiting patiently, using official channels.
The message the government wants to send to those who arrive unannounced, seeking sanctuary for themselves or their children is “Don’t jump the queue, don’t come to Australia. If you do try it, you will be sent somewhere else and kept in unspecified conditions.”