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Australia's border integrity strengthened by new legislation.

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Australia's Border Integrity Strengthened by New Legislation

MPS 164/2001

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock today welcomed the passage of new legislation which will significantly boost the fight against people smugglers and strengthen the integrity of Australia's borders.

The legislation in the form of a package of seven Bills helped to ensure the effective control and management of Australia's borders. They reinforced the sovereign right of Australia to alone determine who could enter the country and in what manner.

"Australia has experienced a rapid increase in illegal arrivals which has been prompted by people smugglers. The new legislation will increase penalties for these criminals, introduce a new visa regime and strengthen deterrence measures for unauthorised arrivals," Mr Ruddock said.

The measures are contained in seven pieces of legislation, six of which passed through the Senate, with the seventh continuing its passage. The Bills are:

- The Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) Bill 2001 - The Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) (Consequential Provisions) Bills 2001 - The Border Protection (Validation and Enforcement Powers) Bill 2001 - The Migration Legislation Amendment (Judicial Review) Bill 1998 - The Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No 1) 2001 - The Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No 5) 2001 - The Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No 6) 2001

Mr Ruddock said that while Australia had a proud record of accepting people in genuine need, it would not tolerate an abuse of Australia's generosity by people smugglers and their

clients, many of whom were seeking to migrate.

The main points of the legislation included the following:

Measures to strengthen deterrence of unauthorised arrivals, including a new visa regime and minimum prison terms for people smugglers - five years for a first conviction and eight years for a second conviction.


The excision of certain territories from Australia's migration zone including Christmas Island, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. ●

Unauthorised arrivals to those territories cannot apply for a visa. ● The possible detention and removal from those territories of unauthorised arrivals. ● A clear definition in law of the term "refugee." ● A limit to the grounds for judicial reviews. ●

Prohibition of class actions in migration litigation. ● The possibility that adverse inferences may be drawn when visa applicants fail to provide supporting information including documentation. ●

Mr Ruddock said the Government would continue to be pro-active in other areas such as international cooperation to disrupt departures, and interdiction at sea.

"The legislation that has been passed will send a strong message to people smugglers and their clients that Australia is not a soft touch and that the Government will continue to demonstrate leadership in protecting our borders," he said.

26 September 2001

Media Contact: Steve Ingram (02) 6277 7860

Eds Note: The Migration Legislation Amendment (Judicial Review) Bill 1998 will complete its passage in the House of Representatives

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