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Government acts to maintin boat processing integrity



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M e d i a R e l e a s e

MPS 25/96

GOVERNMENT ACTS TO MAINTAIN BOAT PROCESSING INTEGRITY

The Government has been forced to take action to prevent unauthorised arrivals from being encouraged to engage unwarranted, lengthy and expensive processing, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock announced today.

"A recent decision in the Federal Court has shown up an inconsistency in Commonwealth legislative provisions which threatens the integrity of entry procedures. The Government will address this issue by introducing legislation to take effect from today," Mr Ruddock said.

The Migration Act requires that where people in detention request a lawyer, they be given the oppotunity to do so.

The effect of the recent Federal Court decision is that the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity (HREOC) Act can be used to undermine the intent of the Migration Act, allowing lawyers to provide unsolicited advice to people who have entered Australia illegally.

'This could give unauthorised arrivals unrealistic expectations that they will be able to remain in Australia. Also, by undermining the integrity of entry procedures, it could encourage more boat arrivals."

"The legislation the Government will introduce, addresses the inconsistency and will assist in maintaining the integrity of the entry system."

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MR Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone: (06) 277 7860 Facsimile: (06) 273 4144

CANBERRA MEDIA CONTACT: 19 June 1996 Steve Ingram (06) 277 7860