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

Coalition and Labor asylum policies - how do they compare?

In response to a rise in the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia, both Coalition and Labor governments have been under increasing pressure for many years to develop policies that are seen to address border security concerns and combat people smuggling. While there are some policy differences, both Labor and the Coalition are in general agreement on many of the key measures in place to deal with these issues, including mandatory detention for unauthorised boat arrivals introduced in the 1990s by the Keating (Labor) Government; and offshore processing arrangements in the Pacific first introduced by the Howard (Coalition) Government in 2001. Read more...

Asylum seekers, refugees and people smuggling—links to the key Parliamentary Library papers

The Parliamentary Library has recently released several new and updated papers on asylum seekers, refugees, boat arrivals and people smuggling. Links to these papers are included below together with links to other research papers in related areas.  New C Barker, The people smuggler’s business model, 2013 H Spinks, Destination anywhere? Factors affecting asylum seekers’ choice of destination country, 2013 J Phillips, The ‘Pacific Solution’ revisited: a statistical guide to the asylum seeker caseloads on Nauru and Manus Island, 2012UpdatedJ Phillips and H Spinks, Boat arrivals in Australia since 1976, updated 2013J Phillips, Asylum seekers and refugees: what are the facts?, updated 2013 J Phil... Read more...

Justice beyond law: clemency and the Royal Prerogative of Mercy

The campaign to secure posthumous pardons for Harry Harbord Morant, Peter Handcock and George Witton has been the subject of debate in the media, and also in the Australian Parliament, over recent years. In May, the Commonwealth Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, stated that the Australian Government would take no further action on the petition to pardon the three.  Their chief advocate, James Unkles, has indicated his intention to pursue the matter in the UK Courts with the assistance of Dan Mori.  However, irrespective of its outcome, the Morant matter has highlighted the enduring role of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy in Australia's justice system.  The Royal Prerogative of Mercy is the anci... Read more...

Trafficking in Persons - Special Rapporteur's Report to the Human Rights Council

On 22 June, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons especially women and children, presented her annual  report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, including reports of her missions to Thailand and Australia.Special Rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (formerly the Commission on Human Rights) to investigate, monitor, and advise on human rights violations – world wide or in specific countries. In carrying out her mandate, the Special Rapporteur undertakes country visits to study the situation on the ground and, develop recommendations to better prevent or combat trafficking and protect the human ri... Read more...

Indonesia is ready for a rich, contemporary relationship...

Indonesia has taken the spotlight over the last few months as people smugglers, terrorism, drug traffickers, live cattle exports and our neighbour’s complicated ‘komodo economy’ have held the media’s attention. A need to look at Indonesia, not through it to China, was signalled by the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister, Marty Natalegawa, when he met the new Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr: 'It's to the disadvantage of countries to put all their eggs into one basket'. Simultaneously, the recent Hill report on the state of Indonesian language studies in Australia, and last year’s Lowy Institute survey of community attitudes, indicate there is a need to look inwards, at how we think about... Read more...

Determining the ages of people smugglers

IntroductionIt is the responsibility of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to arrest and charge crew members alleged to have committed a people smuggling offence under the Migration Act 1958. These cases are then referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) for prosecution. As at 30 June 2011, there were 304 people smuggling prosecutions involving organisers, captain and crew before the courts (CDPP, 2010–11 Annual Report, p. 84). Between 1 January 2009 and 18 October 2011, 170 crew members and 4 organisers had been convicted of people smuggling offences (Senate Estimates, Attorney General’s portfolio, 18 October 2011, p. 68).Any crew member determined by the AFP to b... Read more...

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