Washington International Law Journal


The Australian government has proposed two amendments to the Migration Act. The first excludes judicial review of administrative determinations in the immigration context. The second severely limits how and when detained refugees can access information regarding their rights as asylum seekers. Refugees arrive in Australia vulnerable and wholly ignorant of the legal system, and must make their claims for asylum in a politically hostile atmosphere. Current immigration laws protect the integrity of the system by making judicial review of immigration determinations possible in some cases and by giving refugees access to information on the refugee determination process. The proposed amendments will undermine the accuracy and effectiveness of Australia's system for determining refugee status, which will inevitably lead to mistakes. Such mistakes will result in a violation of the refoulement principle, under which no refugee may be returned to any country where he or she is likely to face persecution or torture. The proposed amendments will weaken Australia's refugee determination system and should be rejected.

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