Submission: The Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020

NSWCCL has made a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security's Review of the Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020.  

If passed, this bill would cripple the ability of litigants to have access to information that is critical for their cases for retaining a visa, becoming citizens or retaining their citizenship. While it protects the constitutionally guaranteed powers of the High Court, the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit Court to know whatever information is relevant to their reviews of ministerial decisions, it would prevent other courts and other bodies from having such access. And vitally, it not only would allow protected information to be concealed from litigants and their counsel, it would allow them to be denied even the information that such information exists. In effect, only the Minister could use the information in court. This is unacceptable. It is contrary to Australia’s international obligations. But most importantly, it is a severe intrusion on the rights of a person to a fair hearing. It overturns the basic legal principle of equality before the law.

The matters concerned are not trivial. Refusal or cancellation of visas on character grounds leads to deportation, or in the case of recognised refugees, indefinite detention. The cancellation or revocation of citizenship or the finding that it has been renounced or has ceased similarly leads to deportation. If, as a result of this legislation, a person is mistakenly found not to be a refugee, they may be killed.

For more, read our full submission