Migration and asylum

We advocate for the rights of vulnerable people who come up against Australia’s aggressive border policy. This includes asylum seekers and refugees, people charged with people smuggling and people charged with unlawful foreign fishing offences.

Amendments to the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) continue to erode rights of access to tribunals and courts, and continue to undermine Australia’s ratification of the Refugee Convention.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance has contributed to parliamentary inquiries over the years addressing migration amendments.

We believe that all individuals should have access to independent review and the redress of the courts.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance remains opposed to:

  • Offshore detention;
  • Any removal of access to independent review of decision making;
  • Indefinite detention of persons assessed negatively by ASIO;
  • The inhumane conditions asylum seekers are subjected to in immigration detention; and
  • The lack of scrutiny and transparency in the treatment of asylum seekers by the Australian government.

Information provided to us under freedom of information laws has revealed that over $27 million has been spent in compensating people housed in immigration detention from 2001 -2013.

This figure does not include the legal costs paid out by the Department defending such claims.

In addition to advocating for the rights of those seeking asylum, we also speak up for those who may be charged with people smuggling offences or unlawful fishing offences, who are often Indonesian, and have previously included minors.

The rights of these people to access the legal system should not be denied as a result of any domestic xenophobia or hysteria regarding border protection, from present and past governments.

Individuals must have access to:

  • adequate legal representation;
  • independent review of decisions; and
  • adequate compensation for unlawful detention and destruction of property.

We believe there is a continued need for a review of Australia’s relationship with Indonesia regarding unlawful foreign fishing.