Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Gillard Government incompetence again on display

Judge delays first refugee transfer to Malaysia
Source: AFP  |  August 07, 2011 8:22PM

A High Court judge has ordered a delay in the transfer of the first asylum-seekers to Malaysia under Australia's swap deal.

An injunction seeking to stop the deportation of the asylum-seekers was sought at a special hearing of the court in Melbourne this evening.

Justice Kenneth Hayne ordered that the asylum-seekers who were due to leave Australia at 11.30am (AEST) tomorrow not depart before 4.15pm (AEST), pending the hearing of another application in the High Court in Canberra at 2.15pm (AEST).

The High Court proceedings were launched by lawyer David Manne from the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre in Melbourne.

"This is about life or death matters and our clients are challenging the government's power to expel them to Malaysia where they fear they will not be protected and they are at real risk of harm," Manne said earlier of the proceedings.

Australia plans to send up to 800 asylum-seekers to Malaysia in return for accepting 4000 registered refugees from that country over four years.

Manne, from the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre in Melbourne, said he was representing 41 of the 55 asylum-seekers who had arrived by boat in Australia last week and who had been expected to leave for Malaysia tomorrow.

"Underlying all this is that Australian law requires that their claims for refugee protection should be considered here in Australia instead of expelling them to Malaysia," he said.

But the government said it was prepared for protests and legal challenges and vowed the deal would go ahead despite concerns among rights campaigners that Malaysia has not signed up to the UN convention on refugees.

"The situation remains, we are determined to implement this," Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said earlier today.

"People who come to Australia by boat can work on the basis that they will be returned to Malaysia, regardless of any protest action taken"

My View

Legally the injunction stand a better than even chance of success based on the fact that Malaysia is not a signatory to the various United Nations Charters pertaining to asylum seekers and the rights of children.

What an embarresment this would be to the Gillard  government if the injuction is extended. Gillard has pushed this 'Malaysian solution' hard so as to appear as determined as Abbott to rid Australia of the aslyum issue. Bad policy, bad governance, bad outcome.

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