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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Australia’s refugee population: A statistical snapshot of 2014-15

Statistics published by the Immigration Department reveal that during the 2014–15 financial year 6,002 permanent visas were granted to refugees abroad who had applied to be resettled to Australia, representing a decrease of 500 from the previous year. Though the Department has not revealed the countries from which these refugees have fled, consistent with previous years, Australia continues to honour its commitment to resettle refugees from countries with protracted refugee populations suc... Read more...

‘Politics is the art of the possible’, but is Malcolm Turnbull likely to change the Government’s hard-line approach to asylum seekers?

When Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in as Prime Minister in September 2015, some commentators queried whether a change in leadership might prompt a policy shift in the Government’s handling of asylum seekers (including offshore processing and third country settlement). This Flagpost examines Turnbull’s statements in Parliament on some of the key debates surrounding asylum seekers that have occurred since he entered Parliament in 2004 as an MP in the Howard-led Coalition Government, to wh... Read more...

Senate agitates for immigration detention reform

When the apparently uncontroversial Migration and Maritime Powers Amendment Bill (No.1) 2015 was introduced into Parliament in September 2015, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton noted that the Bill would simply strengthen and clarify the legal framework so that the Migration Act 1958 (the Act) would be interpreted consistently with the original policy intention. Though the Minister probably would have been expecting the Opposition to support the omnibus Bill, he may... Read more...

Survey finds strong support for immigration and multiculturalism (but not for asylum seekers arriving by boat)

A new report on social cohesion by the Scanlon Foundation presents some interesting findings concerning Australians’ attitudes to social cohesion, immigration and population issues. The survey is the only study of its kind in Australia, presenting comprehensive information on attitudes towards these issues over the last eight years.  Read more...

Whistle-blowing under the Border Force Act: Three months on

Despite both major political parties agreeing that the Border Force Bill 2015 (introduced into Parliament in February this year) would be dealt with as non-controversial legislation, since its commencement on 1 July 2015, it has proved to be anything but uncontroversial. Perhaps the most contentious aspect of the Border Force Act (the Act) has proved to be the secrecy provision contained in section 42 of the Act which provides that an ‘entrusted person’ commits an offence if they di... Read more...

ZouZou/shutterstock.com

Australia’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis

The escalating Syrian refugee crisis continues to make news headlines around the world and in recent weeks European countries have been gathering to discuss what they can do to assist. Several European countries have committed to increasing resettlement places for Syrian refugees, while Germany has stated that it will process asylum applications from Syrians in Germany rather than returning them for processing to the country in which they first entered the EU, as it is permitted to do under the ... Read more...

Could people stripped of their Australian citizenship be immediately removed from Australia?

The desired outcome of the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015 is ‘to ensure the safety and security of Australia and its people and to ensure the community of Australian citizens is limited to those who continue to retain an allegiance to Australia’. But is automatic loss of citizenship necessarily the end of the line for those in Australia who are deemed to have repudiated their allegiance to Australia and will they thus be put on the next plane out... Read more...

Cancellation of Australian citizenship built on shaky foundations?

Whether dual nationals or citizens who engage in terrorist activity should be stripped of their Australian citizenship is unlikely to be the focus of extensive discussion when Parliament resumes after its winter recess. That is because both sides of politics appear to broadly agree that they should. Rather, it is the breadth and mechanics of the three new cessation provisions (automatically triggered when a person either engages in prescribed conduct, serves or fights for a terrorist organisatio... Read more...

The Department of Immigration: from building the nation to managing the border

On 1 July 2015 the Australian Border Force (ABF) will commence operations within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which will formally merge with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service on the same date. This will be the culmination of an integration process begun by the Abbott Government almost immediately upon taking office, when responsibility for customs and border protection was moved from the Attorney-General’s portfolio to the Immigration portfolio. T... Read more...

Ken Hodge [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Is Australia any closer to returning failed asylum seekers to Iran?

On 18 April 2015, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, travelled to Iran to discuss the involuntary return of Iranian nationals who have unsuccessfully sought asylum in Australia. Though her visit was touted as being significant because she was the first Australian Minister to visit Iran in 12 years, it appears on the issue of returnees, her visit did no more than pave the way for further discussions on the issue—and at a lower level.  However, discussions between the two... Read more...