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Thursday, 16 August 2012
Page: 5633

Senator LUNDY (Australian Capital TerritoryMinister Assisting for Industry and Innovation, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Sport) (17:38): Regarding your comment, 'Is that all?' in terms of the levels of accountability, these considerations would be made in full consultation with the UNHCR in the context of the regional arrangement. So it is misleading to express what I have described in the way that you have and I wanted to clarify that.

Further, I would like to extrapolate the process of bringing the documents to the parliament and that accountability mechanism. The new subclause 198AC(2) provides:

The Minister must cause to be laid before each House of the Parliament:

(a) a copy of the designation; and

(b) a statement of the Minister’s reasons for thinking it is in the national interest to designate the country to be an offshore processing country, referring in particular to any assurances of a kind referred to in paragraph 198AB(3)(a) that have been given by that country; and—

that is, that relating to their obligations under the refugee convention—

(c) a copy of any written agreement between Australia and the country relating to the taking of persons to the country; and

(d) a statement about the Minister’s consultations with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in relation to the designation, including the nature of those consultations; and

(e) a summary of any advice received from that Office in relation to the designation; and

(f) a statement about any arrangements that are in place, or are to be put in place, in the country for the treatment of persons taken to the country.

I think that satisfies the question that you just put to me.