Cardboard silhouettes of children on the lawn outside parliament house

Rushed ‘community safety orders’ bill betrays principles of Australian democracy, justice

Responding to the Federal Government’s move to push Migration Amendment (Bridging Visa Conditions and Other Measures) Bill 2023 through parliament by the end of the day, Amnesty International Refugee Rights Advisor Dr Graham Thom says:

“Amnesty International Australia expresses alarm at the federal government’s pushing through the Migration Amendment (Bridging Visa and Other Measures) without appropriate parliamentary scrutiny.”

“Amnesty International calls on the Federal government to delay their sudden plan to force the bill through parliament tonight and to allow for proper scrutiny of this important, highly consequential new law.”

Dr Graham Thom, Amnesty International Refugee Rights Advisor

“The principles of a separation of powers and equality under the law are essential for a strong, rights-respecting democracy. The government should not risk weakening these democratic pillars by rushing through unscrutinised legislation to neutralise fear-mongering political attacks from the opposition.”

“A sensible conversation is needed when balancing community safety with personal liberty, this is not a time for knee jerk responses.”

On the specific measures in the Amendment, Dr Graham Thom Says:

“The government’s Migration Amendment will effectively create different systems for members of the public based solely on an individual’s visa status, which is inherently discriminatory.”

“Amnesty International strongly opposes any form of preventative detention order, such as one of the types of community safety detention orders. These kinds of orders undermine the presumption of innocence which is a cornerstone of the criminal justice system in Australia.”

“Community safety detention orders can also allow for people to be detained without charge or trial on the basis of things they might do. This fails fundamental standards of human rights law.”

On the government’s response to the NZYQ High Court ruling, Dr Graham Thom says:

“The High Court decision striking down the ability of the government to indefinitely detain people solely for immigration purposes should have been an opportunity for the government to undertake a broader review of Australia’s detention regime, bringing it into line with Australia’s human rights obligations.”

“We have seen under previous governments the damage caused to individuals by government programs which are later found to be unlawful, it is crucial that any legislation passed is not only constitutionally permissible but is also fully aware of the mental and physical damage it could cause to those impacted by it.”