Malaysia-Australia Refugee Swap Deal declared illegal


August 31, 2011

Malaysia-Australia Refugee Swap Deal declared illegal

UPDATED @ 03:28:27 PM 31-08-2011

The refugee swap deal between Australia and Malaysia was deemed illegal by Australia’s High Court today.The hugely controversial arrangement has been popularly referred to as the “Malaysia Solution” in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald ran an Australian Associated Press report that quoted Chief Justice Robert French as saying that “the declaration made… was made without power and is invalid.”

The court barred asylum seekers held by Australia from being sent to Malaysia, a ruling that will likely derail the swap deal intending to send 800 boat people to Malaysia in exchange for 4,000 already-processed refugees to Australia.

The move was put on hold earlier this month after Melbourne lawyer David Manne won a High Court injunction to prevent deportations pending a decision on the deal.

He argued that Australian-held asylum seekers had rights to refugee protection assessed in Australia, and that the High Court could review Bowen’s declaration that Malaysia was a suitable destination for offshore processing.

With Canberra agreeing to pick up the RM1 billion bill for the swap, the Gillard administration’s popularity has sunk under pressure from opposition leaders and human rights activists in both Pacific nations.

But Australia’s Labor government insists the swap will stem human trafficking despite a Parliament motion condemning it due to concerns over Malaysia’s treatment of refugees.

There has also been concerns that a biometric system used in Malaysia to register migrants is “riddled with problems” and reports of scalps taking advantage of an ongoing amnesty programme for illegal immigrants have raised further questions over its ability to deal with incoming asylum-seekers.

According to the AAP, refugee lawyers asked the High Court to strike down the deal, arguing that Immigration Minister Chris Bowen (right) did not have the power to send asylum seekers to a country that has no legal obligations to protect them.

They also argued that sending unaccompanied minors to Malaysia would breach the minister’s duty of care as their legal guardian to act in their best interests.

But the Australia’s Solicitor-General Stephen Gageler had argued the government could lawfully declare Malaysia a safe third country even though it had no domestic or international legal obligations to protect asylum seekers.

15 thoughts on “Malaysia-Australia Refugee Swap Deal declared illegal

  1. What is really behind this deal?

    Why have not our MPs requested for an explanation. A country that is not a signatory to the U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees agreeing to accept asylum seekers?? Clearly there is more than meets the eye here.

    Not being a signatory to the 1954 U.N. Convention allows Malaysia a free hand, to do as it pleases with refugees and asylum seekers like putting them on a boat and leaving them in the high seas as it has been inclined to do. Illegal aliens in Malaysia are treated like criminals and exploited. Over here the U.S. government cannot deport refugees and asylum seekers back where they face certain danger.

    So what the fuck is going on??

  2. What is going on?
    The Aussies want to pick and choose their ‘immigrants’ – too many headaches with rag-heads posing as economic refugees (asylum seekers, indeed). They prefer meek Christian Chins, Kachins and what have you, since they seem to integrate better being fruit pickers and domestic help (servants/maids, if you will). Remember, both these groups are barely literate – but the strain on the social safety system is less because the latter is deemed more easily ‘encultured’ because of their perceived Judeo-Christian bias. The Labor Government of Oz under that blur Ms Gillard obviously doesn’t understand the psyche of these runaway Burmese. Can’t really blame them, since they wouldn’t want their inner cities to be turned into ghettos like those in UK and the rest of Europe. All they are going to get are Villages and Garages teeming with Chinatown characters.

    Otoh, the Umno goons desperately need the US300 million and will consider it as an FDI – to disappear into their coffers. Our Home minister, is the epitome of ‘being’ handled, lembek flunky who can’t stand up on his own, even if handed a pair of crutches.

    Who really cares if the 800 asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka etc. survive the ordeal? After all, this aborted swap actually means that sovereign nations are now taking over as the main players of human trafficking, instead of criminal syndicates. The Aussie High Court got it right this time.

  3. Australian is a signatory to the !954 U.N Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees; and like the U.S. such laws are incorporated into their domestic laws. Upon reaching the shores of Australia, some of the refugees qualify for asylum under their laws and would have to be given a hearing before an immigration judge and not simply deported. Some of them are economic refugees and are economic migrants in search of a better life. They would not qualify and would be deported but only after due process.

    A Malaysian couple of Chinese ethnicity one of whom was a Muslim convert filed for asylum some years ago in Australia and was granted asylum. They first lost but appealed and won. But the Appeals Tribunal hearing the case confined the case to its peculiar circumstances making it hard for anybody following in their trail to qualify. The burden is on the applicant (and the standard of proof is ‘more likely than not’ i.e. a higher standard than ‘on the preponderance of the evidence’ but not quite the criminal standard which is ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’ — a lot tougher to meet) to show they qualify under one of five statutory grounds under the law and in this case the wife being a Muslim convert could not change her religion and was fleeing religious persecution. People like Anwar and RPK would of course qualify for political persecuton.

  4. These Burmese unfortunates aren’t political, Bean. They are economic.
    The Burmese tribes that claim to be persecuted because of their ethnicity and religion are really just deprived of Government jobs and marginalized as second class citizens, much like in Malaysia. The difference is that over here, the ‘marginalized’ have tremendous economic clout, while over there, they are actually deprived of a means to live comfortably. I’ve been there, seen and experienced their grinding poverty. It’s no great shakes, but i went to get them jobs in hospitals, garment factories, petty traders and as manual labor. Life is getting better for them, as sanctions are being slowly lifted. But some just want to be blood sucking pastors and can’t wait to get out! Most can’t even string two words in English, not that i blame them.

    The same cannot be said of the Afghan, Iraqi, Iranian, Bangladeshis, and Pakistanis. They actually got the means to scrape up the USD 5-10k/head to pay for their passage, demanded by the so called human traffickers. They are not discriminated against in their home countries, except for some rare heterodox practitioners. They are much more difficult to deal with, from what i understand and witnessed ‘cuz my daughter-in-law works with them as a State employed social worker.

  5. So what the f$$k is going on??-Mr Bean

    Malaysia wants to get rid of 4000 processed refugees.

    According to Australian Immigration Minister, even though the deal fell through, Australia will still take the 4,000 refugees as an act of good faith.

  6. There are Chinese Malaysians who came to the United States claiming racial discrimination, deprived of jobs etc and Malays surfacing in Canada claiming discrimination because of their sexual orientation. These are not grounds under the U.N. asylum laws. They were deported.

  7. Yes what is going on? My tax payers money is paying the M’sian Govet to take 800 refugees in return for them giving us 4,000 and then tax payers here have to pay M’sian Governemnt 300 million ? What the $#^& IS going on? Then M’sia is in the media here for the worng reasons like zero Human rights, treating refugees badly…what a Joke? Gillard and Najib should be ashamed!

  8. Yes what is going on? My tax payers money is paying the M’sian Govet to take 800 refugees in return for them giving us 4,000 and then tax payers here have to pay M’sian Governemnt 300 million ? What the $#^& IS going on? Then M’sia is in the media here for the worng reasons like zero Human rights, treating refugees badly…what a Joke? Gillard and Najib should be ashamed!…

    Yup..but they are trying to challenge it! hahaha…najib should be ashamed? no lah..najib1mongolia mana tau malu dah? heheheh…the great PM malaysia ever had!

  9. Kathy,
    I say the most. Perhaps, Gillard would go the Jim Callaghan way. Of course, Callaghan is far more experience than Gillard.
    In scotland, it’s surprising that the minority government there can survive for so long

  10. “But the Australia’s Solicitor-General Stephen Gageler had argued the government could lawfully declare Malaysia a safe third country even though it had no domestic or international legal obligations to protect asylum seekers.”

    To declare a country ‘safe’ for illegals seeking asylum under the United Nations laws (relating to the status of refugees) does not for that reason make it safe. This guy is so full of shit.

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