November 15, 2014 | the guardian
Australia ‘doesn’t want to be beholden to the high court who will pick every comma in the wrong place to allow someone in’, says Liberal senator
The Liberal senator Ian Macdonald has said Australia was introducing sweeping changes to asylum-seeker processing laws because it did not want to be beholden to the high court.
The comment was made in the course of a Senate inquiry on Friday into the migration and maritime powers amendment, which would makesignificant changes to the assessment process for asylum seekers to “fast-track” decision making, and would also reintroduce temporary protection visas.
Leading lawyers and human rights experts had earlier warned the changes were likely to cause major delays in courts and increase the risk that legitimate refugees would be returned to their countries of origin.
Macdonald’s admission was made in an exchange with the Migration Institute of Australia member Nicholas Tebbey.
Macdonald asked Tebbey why the government was introducing the legislation. Tebbey said: “Australia doesn’t want to feel like it is beholden to a 1951 convention any longer.”
Macdonald interjected, and told the inquiry: “No, it doesn’t want to be beholden to the high court who will pick every comma in the wrong place to allow someone in.”
“That’s the purpose of it. If what we deal with are refugees who we used to deal with through UNHCR in an ordered way, none of this will be important.”