Vinnies urges end to migration zone bill
Legislation to excise about 3000 islands from the Australia's refugee zone should be rejected, according to the St Vincent de Paul Society.
In a submission to the Legal and Constitutional References Committee it says the legislation, which will go before the next session of Federal Parliament, plays to "a climate of fear" and will not achieve its intention of deterring asylum seekers.
The Society told the committee it was disappointed that the legislation was even being contemplated as it contravened the social justice principles of fairness and equity and effectively denied the right of protection for people fleeing persecution. And it appeared not to be consistent with Australia's obligations under numerous international covenants and treaties to which it is a signatory.
"The claim that excision of certain islands would aid border protection implies that our borders are under threat from terrorists arriving in Australia in unsafe vessels, posing as refugees and asylum seekers," the Vinnies submission said.
"There does not appear to be a scintilla of evidence that terrorists have gained entry to Australia by boat. Terrorists are more likely to make use of international airports and sophisticated means of access rather than risk-laden sea- vessels.
St Vincent de Paul Society | A Submission to the Legal and Constitutional References Committee on the Excision of Certain Islands from Australia's Migration Zone
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee
14 Aug 2002