Submission: Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee in regard to the Migration Amendment (Evacuation to Safety) Bill 2023.

Update: 9 March 2023 Yesterday Labor the Australian Labor Party joined with the Liberals to vote against the Greens' legislation to evacuate refugees and people seeking asylum from Nauru and PNG to safety in Australia. This is a devastating blow for the 150 people still trapped in limbo. NSWCCL condemn the Labor Party for betraying refugees and people seeking asylum.

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties, civil society and human rights organisations welcome the introduction of the Migration Amendment Evacuation to Safety Bill 2023 in the Senate. This Bill is required to urgently resolve the situation of those refugees and asylum seekers still living in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Australian asylum seeker policy is a gross breach of human rights and decency. It is inconsistent with its obligations under international law.

The Bill offers the chance to reform the law to bring Australia’s immigration policies in line with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention, by bringing all refugees and people seeking asylum to Australia while determinations are made about durable solutions.

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties submission focusses on the following five compelling reasons to pass the Bill into law:

  1. The Bill better accords with international law than the current legislation and will repair Australia’s standing amongst the community of nations.
  2. The Bill reduces the risk of unnecessary harm to refugees and asylum seekers.
  3. The Bill will reduce the exorbitant costs of the current offshore processing program.
  4. The Bill restores the integrity of the rule of law and the procedural fairness rule, which are the bedrock of the common law.
  5. The positive effects on the Bill will have on the Australian Community.

On the basis that the Commonwealth’s position regarding asylum seekers is inconsistent with its obligations under international law, NSWCCL has made the following submissions to reform the current position.

  1. The Migration Amendment (Evacuation to Safety) Bill 2023 be passed into law.
  2. That the Bill be amended to allow people who are refugees without any security risk to have the choice of settlement in Australia.
  3. Pathways to permanent protection visas for all categories of asylum seekers are reinstated.

For more information, read our full submission