The Australian Greens said today they will seek to amend the ASIO Act so refugees, including children, are no longer detained for the rest of their lives because of adverse security assessments which cannot be challenged.
“There is a problem with the current law that allows for a young mother and her children to be detained indefinitely, effectively for the rest of their lives without explanation or ability to challenge,” Greens’ immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.
“No one with any common sense understanding of the rule or law or basic compassion could argue this is a fair or right thing to do.
“The Greens’ amendment bill will correct this gross injustice, allowing for due process and a basic right of review.
“It is shameful that the government permits this injustice by which a person who has an adverse assessment against them can neither see nor challenge it.
“The lack of statements of reasons and merits review, afforded to Australian citizens, of detention and adverse ASIO assessment decisions mean genuine refugees — men, women and children — are caught in a legal black-hole.
“There are 57 people, including 6 children, effectively facing incarceration for the rest of their lives, simply for seeking protection as refugees in Australia.
“The Greens will introduce legislation in the next sitting fortnight to amend the ASIO Act as per the recommendations in the recent parliamentary inquiry into the immigration detention network.
“Our bill will achieve four things: let asylum seekers receive a statement of reasons for ASIOs decisions, create periodic six-month reviews of ASIO assessments and allow the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to hold merits reviews with the support of a Special Advocate for sensitive national security matters.
“These amendments are about giving people a fair go and the right to defend themselves and their children from a lifetime of detention and harm.
“Justifying the incarceration of young children and their parents in the name of national security doesn’t displace our obligations to human rights and justice.
“In comparable countries this balance of fairness and security is managed carefully. In the UK, Canada and NZ, refugees and asylum seekers can challenge security assessments to avoid vulnerable individuals being kept in no-man’s-land like here in Australia.
“The Greens are moving to ensure basic fairness because the Gillard government is refusing to act.”
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