A High Court decision this morning (7 September) has dismissed an
application of behalf of five asylum seekers seeking to extend
judicial review to discretionary Ministerial decisions.
In a similar application (M61) in 2010, the High Court found that
asylum seekers were entitled to judicial review of appeal decisions.
The High Court judgement means that there is now no legal impediment
to the government moving to deport a large number of asylum seekers.
Around 180 asylum seekers were attached to the case, but the case will
also impact of the fate of perhaps another 100 asylum seekers in
detention centres or in community detention.
“We will now be trying to see if there are other possible legal
measures that can be taken. But are urging the government to see the
High Court decision as a green light to return people to dangerous
places like Sri Lanka or Afghanistan.
“The dangers of Sri Lanka have been made obvious in recent weeks,”
said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “A
recent report shows that there is a disappearance (mostly abductions)
in Sri Lanka are reported at a rate of as disappearances of more than
one every five days in post-war Sri Lanka. There have been 21
disappearances reported just by Sri Lanka’s English media in the 100
days between April 1st and July 9th 2012.
“Dayan Anthony a Tamil asylum seeker was questioned and intimidated by
Sri Lankan authorities after he was deported in July. Dayan and his
family, like the families of other asylum seekers in Australia, are
being watched by Sri Lankan CID.
“In June, this year, a British High Court stopped the removal of
Tamils because it was considered they were at risk of torture if they
“Anyone who watched ‘Go back to From Where You Came From’ knows that
Kabul and Afghanistan are not safe places for asylum seekers,” said
“In the light of this decision, refugee groups will be stepping up
their campaigns against deportations.
“The government introduced complementary protection legislation into
the Parliament in March this year. If the government is consistent
they will allow all the asylum seekers affected by the High Court
decision to make application for complementary protection. It would be
complete hypocrisy not to extent that protection to people who arrived
before March 2012.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
* The report on Sri Lanka can be found at