Weekly media wrap - 20 October 2014

Asylum seeker advocates claim the Australian government’s proposed bill to reintroduce temporary protection visas contains controversial hidden laws. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the bill ‘reinforces the Government’s powers to undertake maritime turnbacks and introduces rapid processing and streamlined review arrangements’. Critics claim that hidden laws would limit scrutiny of the Government’s actions and may reinterpret Australia’s obligations under the UN Refugee Convention.

The High Court considered the matter of 157 asylum seekers who were detained on the high seas earlier this year. Lawyers for the defendants produced evidence to show the asylum seekers were given no opportunity to claim asylum during their detention.

In a separate case, the Federal Circuit Court found that infants born to detained asylum-seekers do not have the right to an Australian visa.

A group of 50 Vietnamese asylum seekers will be released to live in the Western Australian community. The group, who are predominantly catholic, fled religious persecution in Vietnam.

In an interview with Fairfax, incoming Indonesian president Joko Widodo said that it is unacceptable for the Australian navy to enter Indonesian waters uninvited while turning back asylum seeker boats.

The Italian government operation to rescue asylum seekers at sea concludes in two weeks. The operation has rescued 140,000 asylum seekers in the past year. Critics are concerned that the closure of the operation will lead to more asylum seeker deaths at sea.