Inquiry into Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2019

Liberty Victoria

The Bill seeks to amend the Migration Act 1958 (the Act) by introducing a twelfth set of circumstances in which a person will necessarily fail the character test enunciated at s.501(6) of the Act: where they have committed a ‘designated offence’.

Liberty Victoria recommends the Bill not be passed. 

Our principal concerns with the Bill can be summarised as follows:
a. No compelling case has been put forward by the Government to justify the amendments. They do not achieve the intended purpose.
b. The amendments set an arbitrary and inconsistent standard of ‘character’.
c. The amendments are inconsistent with Australia’s international obligations.
d. The amendments would have a severe impact on highly vulnerable individuals, including children, refugees, and people with mental illness.
e. The amendments would have numerous unintended consequences, including on the criminal and administrative jurisdictions and service providers within those spaces. 

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