Weekly media wrap - 27 October

Australian Federal Independent MP Andrew Wilkie wrote to the International Criminal Court to seek an investigation into the treatment of asylum seekers, to determine whether Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the 19 members of the cabinet have contravened international conventions.

The Guardian obtained information that Immigration Minister Scott Morrison employed a rarely used clause in the Migration Act that allows him to issue a ‘conclusive certificate’. The certificate blocks permanent protection on grounds of national interest. Asylum seeker advocates say that refugees are being denied natural justice and there is a lack of clarity on how national interest is being defined.

The future of the migration and maritime power legislation amendment bill is uncertain, as it is facing difficulty passing through the senate. Minister Morrison said failing to pass it would add to budget costs and keep children in detention. Critics claim that this bill will allow an increase to the powers of the immigration minister and will limit the role of the courts by bypassing the review process.

A group of asylum seekers won a Federal Court appeal against the immigration department over the unintentional exposure of their personal details in a significant data breach in February 2014. The Immigration Minister has been ordered to pay the asylum seekers' costs.

Further delays are expected for refugees to be resettled in Papua New Guniea, as Prime Minister Peter O'Neill announced plans for a new policy with increased focus on consultations and building public awareness of the scheme.

A senate estimates hearing was told that the Abbott government spent more than one billion dollars this financial year to house approximately 2200 asylum seekers in offshore detention centres in PNG and Nauru. A spokeswoman for the Immigration Minister defended the costs as almost $100 million less than the previous financial year.

Cambodian officials reportedly travelled to Australia this week, prior to flying to Nauru to meet refugees to discuss their option to be resettled in Cambodia. Cambodian Interior Ministry said that refugees would be given a 'realistic' picture of contemporary Cambodia.

Lebanon has closed its borders to Syrians fleeing their country's civil war as refugees, with the exception of ‘emergency cases’. The border will remain open for people traveling for other purposes.