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Thursday, 17 December 1992
Page: 5449

Senator CHAMARETTE (11.53 p.m.) —My questions relate to our international obligations, in particular, under the ICCPR. I refer to article 9.4 and article 9.5. Under section 54RA(1) of the Migration Act, the right of a designated person who is in custody between 19 November 1989 and May 1992 to access common law under State, Federal or Territory law is removed. In passing, I say to Senator Spindler it is this which would restrict the compensation to the boats because this legislation that we are being asked to pass tonight denies any access to any other people who may have been in slightly different circumstances and may have been considered as unlawfully detained. They can no longer be considered. I refer the Minister to article 9.4. Does not section 54RA(1) of the Act contravene article 9.4? It states:

Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.

My second question relates to article 9.5 which refers to the contemptuously small amount that is being determined for the limitation of compensation. Article 9.5 says:

Anyone who has been victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.

I ask the Minister for his definition of compensation. How is compensation normally determined under law? Can it possibly be identical for 104 or so people? Is it not the case that an understanding of compensation has to take into consideration the individual circumstances of each person who is asking for that compensation before a court of law?