Christmas tear. Season of ill-will

Christmas tear. Season of ill-will

Much as one would like to find glad tidings among the Christmas lights and huge blow-up Santas, reindeers and trees festooning many Sydney houses, kindliness seems to have taken a back seat.

In November, the Australian Senate passed a bill described by the Australian Lawyers’ Alliance as having ripped up Australia’s ratification of the Refugee Convention. It gives Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison “unchecked and unappealable” powers to “play God” with the lives of asylum seekers arriving by boat. The 2014 Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment Bill in effect discards the crucial rule of non-refoulement, thereby allowing asylum seekers to be quietly “shunted back to possible death or persecution” in the countries from which they’ve fled, without judicial review or recourse to the Refugee Review Tribunal.

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