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Ending Indefinite and Arbitrary Immigration Detention

Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration for the inquiry into the Ending Indefinite and Arbitrary Immigration Detention Bill 2021

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Summary of recommendations

2.5. We must amend the Migration Act 1958 to repeal the legal framework for mandatory detention. There should be legislative criteria to ensure that detention is used as the last resort, kept to an absolute minimum, and practiced in accordance with our human rights obligations.

2.10. We must abolish the policy of mandatory detention to keep detaining people seeking asylum to bare minimum. We must introduce a time limit to immigration detention to eliminate any chance of having innocent people in detention indefinitely. The Migrant Workers Centre supports the Ending Indefinite and Arbitrary Immigration Detention Bill 2021 because it ensures that a person’s detention period is as short as possible by disallowing arbitrary detention and setting limited time frames to detention.

2.11. The Migration Act 1958 must stipulate the principle that all asylum applications be individually assessed against the Refugee Convention. The Government must provide people seeking asylum access to legal assistance and when detained an opportunity to challenge the legality of their detention with legal representation.

3.8. Australia should allow all those seeking asylum an opportunity to study and work so that they can contribute to their own well-being and to the Australian community. We should also provide adequate support and a social security safety net to those unable to find employment. At a minimum, Australia should ensure that people seeking asylum have access to basic health care, counselling, housing support, and language training. The Ending Indefinite and Arbitrary Immigration Detention Bill 2021 ensures that those in alternatives to immigration detention have full access to housing and financial support and have the right to work and education, health care, and other government services, as required under international law.

4.6. Temporary protection visas must be abolished in recognition of their ineffectiveness and the harmed caused. There is nothing Australia as a nation can benefit from the temporary protection regime. Temporary protection can cause considerable struggle and a significant deterioration in mental health as refugees cannot access long-term employment and housing. Refugees are also prevented from contributing to the Australian community and economy to their fullest ability. There is no evidence to suggest that temporary protection turns people seeking asylum away from Australia, either.

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