NSWCCL has made a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration Inquiry into the Ending Indefinite and Arbitrary Immigration Detention Bill 2021.
In our view, passing the Ending Indefinite and Arbitrary Immigration Detention Bill into law is morally and legally necessary. The Bill corrects the deviation from human rights and international norms in the course the government has taken in its treatment of refugees and unauthorised arrivals under the domestic legislative framework.
There are 1,513 people in immigration detention facilities, including 1,276 in immigration detention on the mainland and 237 people in immigration detention on Christmas Island. There are also 137 people effectively in detention on Nauru and another 145 people effectively in detention on Manus Island and PNG. The suffering of unauthorised entrants to this country under Australia’s system of indefinite mandatory detention is well documented. Indefinite detention is inhumane and cruel. Loss of liberty is one of the greatest punishments that humans bestow on each other. As a nation, we are guilty.
During the recent Novak Djokovic detention controversy, the words ‘stop the torturer centre’ were visible on the window of a room in the hotel where Djokovic was being detained. The UNHCR describes Australia’s system of indefinite mandatory detention as punitive, despite the Australian Government’s claims to the contrary. Evidently, the law is in need of reform. The Bill offers the chance to do so.
We see six compelling reasons to pass the Bill into law:
- The Bill better accords with international law than the current legislation.
- It reduces the risk of unnecessary harm to refugees.
- Reducing the exorbitant costs of the current detention program warrants passing the Bill into law.
- There are benefits to the Australian community in allowing more refugees to enter it, such as cultural diversity.
- The Bill restores the integrity of the rule of law and the procedural fairness rule, which are the bedrock of the common law.
- It addresses the deficiencies of the current law as a deterrent against human trafficking.
Read the full submission.