Federal Migration Bill Must Be Abandoned


The Federal Government should abandon the Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024 which punishes and criminalise people who are seeking protection in Australia.

“We are greatly concerned about the provisions of this Bill and, in particular, the powers this Bill proposes to confer on the Minister,” said Greg Barns SC, spokesperson, Australian Lawyers Alliance. “We are alarmed that this Bill gives the Minister new and excessive powers, which are not subject to proper review, to interfere with the lives of vulnerable individuals.

“The Bill will punish people who may not be able to return to their country through genuine fear of persecution – the reason for non-cooperation from this group does not seek to have been addressed at all in this Bill and does not appear in the Explanatory Memorandum.

“Australia has international legal obligations to protect people fleeing persecution under international law. However, this Bill proposes that Australia should punish and criminalise people who are seeking protection here and those who are even considering seeking protection in Australia.

“This Bill can only be described as cruel and, if passed by the Parliament, will embarrass Australia on the international stage in a number of ways – including signalling that Australia is not committed to upholding human rights, the separation of powers, and the Rule of Law.”

The Bill undermines the Rule of Law by giving Ministers and officials of the executive arm of government substantial powers without appropriate and sufficient protections against overreach and those powers being misused.

“We urge the Federal Government to abandon this Bill including the concerning removal pathway directions and the proposed new criminal offence for a failure to comply with a direction,” said Mr Barns SC.

“The government must ensure that any deportations are undertaken with full regard to human rights and the utilisation of diplomatic and other channels.”

Read the ALA’s full submission here.

/Public Release. View in full here.