Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 30 May 1989
Page: 3045

Senator ROBERT RAY (Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs)(9.30) —The Government totally opposes this proposal. It is pointless setting up and immediately enacting our internal review without the regulations. However, I do assure everyone that not only the second application review but the normal internal review will proceed until we can meld the two systems together. If the second suggestion of having a third tier appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) was to be carried I would sink the Bill. It would cost us $15m, by our estimation, maybe up to $18m. It is a terribly expensive process, especially given, as I indicated before, the leakage rate that occurs in the immigration area. That would make that untenable.

Even worse, it would mean that all decisions under the act would be appealable, including the two excluded categories of refugees and criminal deportations. This Government has a view that it is the ultimate arbiter on criminal deportations, subject to advice from the AAT but it is only advice. In regard to refugees, we have made it quite clear as Government policy that we will not allow the courts to reinterpret the 1951 convention or the 1967 protocols. If the courts did reinterpret the definition of `refugee', it may imperil the whole refugee program to Australia. It is a program that we can be proud of. We take eight per thousand of our population in refugees, which is the highest per capita intake of any Western country. To throw all that out on the whim of some ruling from a court is not really worth it.

Amendment negatived.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Burns) —Senator Jenkins, amendment No. 28 has the effect of removing new subsections 62 (3) and (4) which have been inserted by Government amendment No. 60. Do you still wish to proceed with amendment No. 28?