Lifetime ban law – Unjust, unlawful and unnecessary

The Human Rights Law Centre told the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee the proposed ‘lifetime ban’ for people who are living in our community, or who have been warehoused on Nauru or Manus Island is both cruel and unnecessary, and would permanently separate families. HRLC’s Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb and Lawyer, Amy Frew were invited to appear before the Senate Inquiry into the Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2016.

The Bill seeks to ban people who attempt to seek asylum in Australia after 19 July 2013 and who were then sent to Manus or Nauru from ever making a valid application for any Australian visa. While the lifetime visa ban would not apply to children who have been detained offshore it would automatically apply to their parents.

Following their appearance at the hearing, the The Human Rights Law Centre made a submission to the inquiry stating the Bill would:

  • permanently separate families;

  • unequivocally breach international human rights law; and

  • apply to approximately 370 men, women and children previously detained offshore on Nauru or Manus but who are now rebuilding their lives in the Australian community.

“The inclusion of non-compellable Ministerial discretions to exempt people from the application of the lifetime ban does not safeguard against the Bill’s punitive effects,” said Mr Webb.  

Ms Frew said, “We have seen how similar Ministerial discretions which already exist have fallen far short of safeguarding of rights and decency. Fundamental rights require stronger protection than the broad and non-compellable discretion of one politician.”