Detention and Delusion in Australia's Kafkaesque Refugee Law
Forthcoming in the Refugee Survey Quarterly
29 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2016
Date Written: August 16, 2016
Under international refugee law, there is provision for a State to deny protection to persons who might otherwise qualify for refugee status where their actions render them unworthy of it. In Australia an ‘adverse security assessment’ under the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation 1979 allows the state to take ‘prescribed administrative action’ against a person in order to satisfy the ‘requirements of security’ so as to include indefinite detention of a person who otherwise may qualify for refugee status under international law. The reliance by the government on what is tantamount to amounting to a very broad ‘character test’ in order to effect detention of genuine asylum-seekers has been described as ‘Kafqueskue’ and ‘schizophrenic’ by seasoned observers even within Australia itself. Less well remarked upon is the way in which the Australian system deems people to be ‘undesirable’ once they are deemed to pose a direct or indirect threat to national security and then become ‘unremovable’ because if they satisfy the refugee definition, are at risk of ill-treatment, and cannot be returned, there is little that can be done to them except to detain them indefinitely. This article draws that link and highlights the potential pitfalls for the Australian system for pursuing such a risky policy in refugee law.
Keywords: Australian Refugee Policy, Detention, Queue Jumpers, Adverse Security Assessment
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