This Monday saw mounting criticism in Australia over a proposal by the government. The prime minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull wants to implement a law that he hopes will act as a deterrent to refugees. Every year there are refugees coming to Australia by boat. The law would stop them from even setting foot in Australia. However, the law to stop asylum seekers faces criticism in Australia. Not everybody supports the prime minister’s proposal. Also, there are questions regarding whether the government’s proposal would be effective in discouraging refugees from getting on boats going to Australia.
A Legislative Proposal to Put an End to Asylum Seekers
The Australian prime minister said that the legislation is going to go before Parliament next week. In Australia, Parliament is going to resume its session next week and the law is going to be on the agenda. The piece of legislation proposes a lifetime ban to those who have attempted to come to Australia by boat. So far, many migrants and refugees have attempted access to Australia that way. Authorities have sent them to offshore processing centers. There, they await a decision regarding their situation.
The Australian prime minister held a press conference in Sydney this Sunday. He talked about the importance of sending a strong message to people smugglers.
“It is a critically important strong message to send to people smugglers. They must know that the door to Australia is closed to those who seek to come here by boat with a people smuggler. It is closed.”
Said prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
So far, a draft version of the proposed legislation has not been made public. The proposal has a long way to go before it becomes law. First, it must pass the Senate. The government doesn’t have a majority there. So, it is uncertain whether or not the law will go through Parliament.
Criticism for the Legislative Proposal
Even so, the legislative proposal has drawn strong criticism. Those who do not take such a strong stand on immigration feel that the proposed law is going too far. Advocates for refugees and some lawmakers representing the opposition have voiced their criticism of the law.
Madeline Gleeson is a lawyer at the Kaldor Center for International Refugee Law at the University of New South Wales. She feels that Australia would be losing out with such a law in place.
“Refugees go on to be world leaders, chief executives of major companies, doctors, scientists, lawyers. Those people can never come here. Not as a tourist, not to attend a medical conference.”
Said Madeline Gleeson.
The government cannot achieve their goal of the lifetime ban on its own. It needs more political support if it is going to have the legislation pass through Parliament. In the Senate, the government would need the support of the Labor Party or of independent lawmakers. In the House of Representatives, the government has a one seat majority. Some independent lawmakers have expressed support for the changes to the Migration Act. Senator Pauline Hanson, leader of the One Nation party, welcomes the proposal.
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