On Thursday, the High Court again upheld the legality of Australia’s offshore detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island. After Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled that the arrangement was unconstitutional in April, Australian lawyers argued that it was unlawful for Australia to enter into an agreement that was not legal in another country. However, the High Court ruled unanimously that there was no constitutional requirement for the Australian government to conform to the law of another country.
The Australian Government lost its appeal against a Federal Court ruling allowing immigration detainees to keep their mobile phones. In February, the Federal Court granted an injunction prohibiting Australian Border Force guards from seizing detainees’ phones. George Newhouse, the principal solicitor for the National Justice Project, claimed that removing phones was ‘part of the process of criminalising asylum seekers’.
In a short speech to parliament this week, Liberal backbencher Russell Broadbent called for asylum seekers held on Nauru and Manus Island to be brought to Australia if they are not resettled in the USA.