August 19, 2013 | The Guardian
Claim lodged on behalf of an unnamed asylum seeker who has been transferred under the regional resettlement arrangement
The attorney general has confirmed a legal application challenging the government’s controversial “PNG solution” has been lodged in the federal court.
A statement from the attorney general’s office says the claim was lodged on behalf of an asylum seeker who “has been transferred to Papua New Guinea under the regional resettlement arrangement” but does not name the individual or their legal representation.
It continues: “The government has been advised that the application cannot be commenced in the federal court, and its lawyers will be objecting to the competency of the application.”
The attorney general said the legal application would not prevent “ongoing transfers” of asylum seekers to PNG and the agreement would continue to be “fully implemented”.
“The government is very confident in the legal basis for its transfers to Papua New Guinea. It will vigorously defend any challenge to the regional processing arrangements with Papua New Guinea.”
A number of legal bodies, including the Australian Human Rights Commission, have criticised the controversial arrangement with PNG, under which all asylum seekers arriving by boat since 17 July will be processed and, if found to be refugees, resettled in PNG or in other countries in the region, saying that it risks breaching Australia‘s international and domestic legal obligations.
The UNHCR said it was not consulted on the arrangement and subsequently expressed concern the deterrence policy fails to provide adequate protection for people seeking asylum under international law.