Joint CCLs letter re Migration Amendment Bill 2024

Tony Burke MP

Leader of the House

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Minister for the Arts

Dear Mr Burke

We write as leading civil society organisations, reflecting a broad and diverse membership across Australia, to express our deep concern and disappointment regarding the recent introduction of the Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024.

We are particularly troubled by the objectives apparently underpinning the legislation, including exclusion of entire nations from migration to Australia, further criminalisation and exposure to imprisonment and detention of people seeking safety in Australia, and circumvention of the impact of a prospective High Court decision regarding unlawful administrative detention.

Implicit in the government’s legislation are the repugnant ideas that it is legitimate to exclude, detain, and criminalise people based on where they were born and regardless of their fears of persecution, and to respond to judicial consideration regarding infringements of our Constitution made by the nation’s highest judicial body, the High Court of Australia, with ill-considered workaround legislation and avoidance of scrutiny.

Compounding the issues raised by this proposed legislation is the attempt to pass it with undue haste, and avoiding the normal processes of parliament. It is obvious that there is no true urgency to this legislation, and the attempt to pass it in a single day demonstrates that the government has failed to respect the integrity of the parliamentary process.

Finally, we are concerned that the government’s failed attempt to urgently pass this legislation demonstrates that this failure to respect the parliamentary process is not an effective or appropriate approach to government.

We believe that democracy thrives on open debate, transparency, and the representation of diverse voices and opinions.

As leaders in civil society, we call on the government to reconsider its approach and to engage in a more open, transparent, and consultative process when considering matters of such significant importance. We expect our elected representatives to reflect the values and concerns of our communities and to uphold the principles of democracy and human rights.

We urge you to take immediate action to address these concerns and to ensure that future legislative processes are conducted in a manner that is consistent with democratic principles and respects the rights and dignity of all individuals.

Yours sincerely

LYDIA SHELLY                                          MICHELLE BENNETT                      MICHAEL COPE

President                                                    President                                           President

NSW Council for Civil Liberties                  Liberty Victoria                                   QCCL