This chapter discusses the committee's view on the Bill.
The committee notes the concerns of submitters and witnesses that the
Bill may risk Australia's protection obligations under international law, may
lead to errors and introduce inefficiency. The committee acknowledges that a
number of submitters and witnesses hold the view that it is not possible to
design a non-statutory scheme that would be sufficient to address these
However, in light of the additional information provided by the
department the committee is of the view that most concerns of submitters have
now been addressed.
If the Bill is passed, the department would put in place administrative
arrangements that largely mirror the current statutory process. The primary
decision maker considering refugee claims would also consider complementary
protection claims. Procedural fairness would be afforded with applicants given
the opportunity to comment on country information used by the department and
attend an interview where necessary. Applicants and their advisors would have
clarity around the process and the assessment criteria with the department
making publicly available guidance material and other supporting documentation.
Under the administrative arrangements proposed by the department, the
assessment of whether or not Australia owes an individual protection would be
made by the department following a rigorous and fair assessment process. The
committee is satisfied that with these processes in place, Australia's
obligations under international law would be upheld.
Once the department has assessed that an individual is owed protection,
the minister would have the discretion under the Bill to determine what type of
visa should be issued to that individual. Under this Bill, the minister would
have the flexibility to deal appropriately with individual circumstances. That
is, if the threat of harm is temporary, a temporary protection visa may be
issued. The committee is of the view that greater flexibility is required in how
Australia protects those who require complementary protection and that this
Bill would provide that flexibility.
The committee also accept the statutory scheme for assessing complementary
protection claims established by the previous government created another product
for people smugglers to sell. The committee is of the view that this Bill takes
that product off the shelves.
On balance, the committee believes that the Bill should be passed—subject
to Recommendation 1—so as to give the Department of Immigration and Border
Protection control over Australia's protection obligations
The committee recommends that the Bill be passed, but urges the
government to seriously and urgently consider the preceding recommendation.
Senator the Hon Ian
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