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Thursday, 16 August 2012
Page: 5636

Senator MILNE (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (17:46): I note again the High Court had no confidence that those agreements would be honoured, which is why the High Court struck it down—saying that, whatever assurances you got from Malaysia, they would not be worth anything in the sense that they would not be legally binding in Malaysia and therefore they would be worth only as much as the paper they were written on and the refugees' rights would not be protected. To stand there now and say assurances will enable that kind of agreement is absolutely not valid in the context of what can be proven and what can be upheld.

As to Senator Cash's reference a moment ago to what the parliament can or cannot do, the sole purpose of laying the documents referred to in subsection (2) before the parliament is to inform the parliament of the matters referred to in the documents, and nothing in the documents affects the validity of the designation. It is merely to tell the parliament that is what we agreed, here it is, and bang it on the table. The parliament cannot alter that, so let us not pretend there is parliamentary scrutiny of any of the conditions within the delegation, and let us not pretend that there is any legally binding protections for any refugees sent anywhere under this legislation. We have a very clear statement from the government, a very clear statement from the legislation, that nothing is legally binding and this legislation is specifically designed to get around the High Court and to strip out of our legislation human rights protections.