Delay of draconian migration bill welcomed, but community concern remains

MEDIA RELEASE | 27 March 2024 

Delay of draconian migration bill welcomed, but community concern remains

National racial justice organisation Democracy in Colour and Human Rights Law Centre have welcomed this morning’s delay of the draconian migration bill that was pushed through the lower house yesterday, while warning that such extreme and punitive measures have raised significant concern in many communities.

Democracy in Colour Organiser, Joannie Lee says: 

“While we are relieved that there may be some legitimate scrutiny of this bill, the extreme nature of the measures that the government tried to ram through parliament is cause for significant concern. Questions need to be asked, giving a minister the power to ban people from entire countries is very concerning to many in our community with migrant backgrounds.

“This is the clearest demonstration yet that this government is out of step with the community. We expect better from our government, this continued persecution of asylum seekers is not popular and the fact that this government is proposing powers that would facilitate a Trump-style travel ban shows just how out of touch they are.

“In the last 24 hours people across the country have picked up their phones and called their federal representatives to share their concerns. Our government should be working for our communities not against them, this persistent targeting of migrant communities is a tired and increasingly ineffective political strategy that has the potential to cause real harm.

“These rushed punitive measures are alarming and the powers are extreme overreach. It is incredibly disappointing that given the many issues facing our communities today, the government has chosen to prioritise such extreme and unnecessary measures that are detrimental to many people in this country for their own political gain.

“Our communities are desperately looking for leadership and integrity that prioritises our shared humanity. We need meaningful reforms that have lasting positive impacts for all of us, not short-sighted rushed measures as we have seen over the last 24 hours.”

Human Rights Law Centre Acting Legal Director, Sanmati Verma says: 

“Rather than pursuing defective and punitive quick-fixes, the Albanese government has an opportunity to fundamentally overhaul a detention system that has cost people years of their lives and broken up families and communities. Instead of brutalising and criminalising people released from detention, the Albanese government should be spending time to chart a meaningful course forward for all migrants and refugees in this country. It should be designing a mechanism to independently review detention, and to release people into the community, safely and with dignity.” 

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