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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 6846

Asylum Seekers


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:13): Mr President, my question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Carr. Can the minister confirm to the Senate that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship received advice from the Office of International Law within the Attorney-General's Department in relation to the government's proposed amendments to the Migration Act? Is it not the case that that advice raised concerns that the proposed amendments are inconsistent with Australia's obligations under the UN refugee convention?


Senator CARR (VictoriaMinister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) (14:14): I do not have any advice on what particular parts of the immigration department received advice from other parts of the government. All I can do to assist the Senate is to take the question on notice.


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:14): Mr President, I have a supplementary question. Is it not also the case that the advice raised concerns that, given the unenforceable nature of the protections contained in Australia's arrangement with Malaysia, in the event of the removal of asylum seekers to Malaysia, Australia might also be in breach of its obligations under the convention against torture?

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! On both sides, if you wish to debate it, three o'clock is the time to do so.



Senator CARR (VictoriaMinister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) (14:15): I have nothing further to add to my previous answer on the same topic.


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:15): I have a further supple¬≠mentary question, Mr President. Will the minister confirm that he is taking the first supplementary question on notice? Does the minister agree with the opinion of his colleague, Senator Faulkner, that Australia must not undermine, overtly or covertly, its obligations under the refugee convention? Why has the minister become so morally compromised on asylum seeker policy and so willingly—

Senator Conroy: You are a rank hypocrite!

The PRESIDENT: Senator Conroy, you have got to withdraw that.

Senator Conroy: I withdraw.

Senator BRANDIS: Why has the minister become so morally compromised on asylum seeker policy and so willingly accepted the government's pitiless plan for offshore dumping— (Time expired)






Senator CARR (VictoriaMinister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) (14:16): The government's position is that we are acting consistently with our human rights obligations. As to whether or not you think the minister that I am here representing is morally compromised, I think that that frankly is something that you ought to have a really good look at yourself, Senator, given your actions as a person who claims to uphold the basic principles of jurisprudence in this country and yet have sought to ring police ministers in complete defiance of the principles of the separation of powers. For you to make an assertion about others in this parliament being morally compromised is, frankly, hypocritical beyond belief.