Australian Greens Dissenting Report
At the time that this Bill was introduced and referred to inquiry
dozens of babies born on Australian soil, to asylum seekers parents, were
awaiting imminent deportation to Australia’s offshore detention centres.
Despite these babies being born in Australia, the Government argued that they
were taken to have entered Australia by sea and therefore subject to transfer
to offshore immigration detention.
The Australian Greens out rightly rejected the government's position.
These babies were born in Australia, they did not enter Australia by sea or by
air, they were born safely on Australian soil and they deserved to remain in
Submitters to the inquiry wholeheartedly supported the intention of the
Migration Amendment (Protecting Babies Born in Australia) Bill 2014. Refugee
law experts and advocates raised particular concern about the Government's
intentions to deport new born babies to Australia’s offshore detention centres
as the act would defy international law and put vulnerable children at risk.
When Australia signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child in
December 1990 we agreed that any laws or actions affecting children should put
their best interests first and protect and uphold their basic rights. As argued
by submitters to the inquiry the Government's actions risk breaching these
obligations and putting children in even greater danger.
The Australian Greens agree with the majority of the submitters
that newborn babies would be subject to unacceptable conditions in the camps on
Nauru. We know that the wellbeing of these children is compromised every day and
that irreparable damage is caused. The health risks to children who are detained
indefinitely in immigration detention centres have been well documented by
medical experts across the country. Despite this evidence the Government
continues to detain vulnerable children indefinitely in offshore centres.
The passing of the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation
Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Act 2014 last year
enshrined the deportation of Australian born babies into law. Babies born in
Australia to asylum seeker parents will spend their early childhood locked up
in Australia’s detention centres, making them effectively stateless.
The Australian Greens believe that all children, born in Australia to
asylum seeker parents, should remain in Australia and have the opportunity to
live their lives free from fear and persecution.
The Australian Greens recommend that babies born in Australia to
asylum seekers parents be allowed to remain in Australia and be granted
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
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