On 13 May 2021, the Migration Amendment (Clarifying International Obligations for Removal) Act 2021 (Cth) (‘Clarifying International Obligations Act’) was passed by both houses of federal Parliament, with bipartisan support. Its enactment was met with critique from refugee sector organisations, and defences from parliamentarians who voted for the law.
In a significant judgment, Federal Court judge Geoffrey Flick on Monday ordered the Australian government to pay A$350,000 in damages to a Iraqi asylum seeker who was found to have been unlawfully held in immigration detention for over two years.
Refugees and asylum seekers will take little comfort from the 2021–22 budget. Resettlement places remain capped, while spending on offshore processing, immigration detention and deterrence measures remains high.
The daily tragedies that disfigure the Mediterranean, notwithstanding the views of the Human Rights Committee and the better judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, raise serious doubts about the traditional oversight mechanisms as effective means of ensuring State compliance with the right to life.