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Andrew Giles (Facebook/Andrew Giles MP)

People who refuse to return to their birth country because they fear persecution will be jailed for up to five years if they do not cooperate with moves to deport them under Labor’s accelerated plans to head off a wave of legal challenges to immigration detention. Source: The Age.

Crossbenchers in the lower house warned that Australia would send people to their deaths under Immigration Minister Andrew Giles’ latest bill, which also denies visas to people from nations that don’t accept unwilling deportees and allows the Immigration Department to reverse protection findings after they are granted.

In the third tranche of legislation sped through federal Parliament in response to November’s High Court ruling that released 152 immigration detainees, Labor bowed to Coalition demands in order to pass the bill, agreeing to an 11th-hour inquiry for senators to grill top officials.

Weeks before another High Court hearing on April 17 to determine whether people refusing to co-operate with deportation orders should be released into the community, Mr Giles said the bill targeted those who had “exhausted all their pathways to stay in Australia”.

However, Greens leader Adam Bandt led crossbench condemnation of the Government, accusing Labor of a “race to the bottom” with the Coalition on immigration.

“I want to hear from the minister: how is he going to explain what happens when the first woman who is sent back to Iran under this legislation gets put in prison? What happens when the first person who has fled Russia because of fear of persecution gets sent back there and is no longer contactable?” Bandt said.

Independent MP Zoe Daniel, a former foreign correspondent, said, “If we make a mistake here, people may be sent back to countries and murdered”, while independent Helen Haines said Australians should be worried about the state of our democracy.

The Senate will vote on the bill today after a hastily organised committee hearing that will give senators the chance to question Home Affairs officials.


‘Ultra-marathon in incompetence’: Political chaos as Labor rams through latest High Court fix (By Angus Thompson and Olivia Ireland, The Age)


The government’s last-minute migration bill has reached the Senate. Here’s what’s in it. (ABC News)

The soft Labor Left’s rush to hard love on detainees (The Australian)