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Thursday, 16 August 2012
Page: 5648


Senator MILNE (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (18:40): Yes, but the issues I am raising are with regard to the rights, services and support to refugees. You are referring to what the minister might be able to consider in relation to the national interest, and the national interest as it is set out in that paragraph is:

… public safety, border protection, national security, defence, Australia’s economic interests, Australia’s international obligations and its relations with other countries. Measures for effective border management and migration controls are in the national interest. Measures to develop an effective functioning regional cooperation framework and associated processing arrangements to better manage the flows of irregular migrants in our region are also in Australia’s national interest.

The national interest pertains to what the minister thinks is good for Australia. I am asking: where does it set out what the minister has to guarantee in terms of the interests of the refugee, interests of the unaccompanied child, interests of minors? It is very specific that the minister can take anything into account that he thinks is in Australia's national interest, and it is all couched in terms of national defence, border security and economic interest, but where is there any reference to the rights of refugees?