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Jesuit Seminar urges Govt to forget 'illegal' Pacific solution

A motion urging the Federal Government to abandon "judicially unreviewable, arbitrary, open-ended" detention of asylum seekers, and the so-called Pacific Solution, was moved from the floor at the Jesuit Lenten Seminar in Sydney on Thursday evening.

The Seminar, mid-way through a tour of five capital cities, is being addressed by lawyer Fr Frank Brennan and former international head of the Jesuit Refugee Service Fr Mark Raper.

Commenting on the alleged unsustainability of the Pacific Solution, which involves Australia's use of Papua New Guinea and Nauru for the detention of asylum seekers, Fr Brennan suggested Australian money could not buy out PNG's and Nauru's constitution guarantees that give rights to detainees.

"The constitutions of PNG and Nauru both contain bills of rights which set clear limits on the use of detention and on the requirement for free access to legal assistance," he said. "Being constitutional guarantees, these restrictions cannot legally be negated with a cheque book approach."

Fr Brennan pointed out that the restrictions cannot be removed by legislation, government policy nor by bilateral government negotiations.

The two speakers are travelling to Perth for tonight's Lenten Seminar, then on to Adelaide on Wednesday and Brisbane on Friday.


Jesuit Lenten Seminars 2002 - Schedule

Motion passed at Sydney Seminar (14/3/02)

Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre



18 Mar 2002