NSWCCL has made a submission in relation to the Inquiry into the Deterring People Smuggling Bill 2011.
We object to the attempt made in the bill to retroactively criminalise the behaviour of so- called people smugglers. People are entitled to certainty about what the law requires of them; but retrospective laws are arbitrary, and deny them that certainty. Imposing criminal sanctions on people for doing what was legal when they did it is necessarily unjust.
There also appears to be a discrepancy between the perception of assisting refugees to arrive by boat (of which safety is a concern), compared to by air (often considered ok).
Refugees are often fleeing persecution or undesirable circumstances and are subsequently highly motivated to 'move on'. Those who assist them should not be demonised on that account.