The Australian government amended the Migration Act to fortify the legislation against an upcoming High Court challenge to offshore detention. The amendments passed with the support of the Labor Party.
Opposition MP Joel Fitzgibbon suggested the Labor Party should consider support for boat turn-backs. Following the suggestion, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton urged opposition leader Bill Shorten to clarify the Labor Party’s position. Asylum seeker policy is anticipated to be a significant discussion point at the Labor Party’s national conference in July.
NSW Premier Mike Baird announced public transport travel concessions for asylum seekers, referring to them as ‘the most vulnerable (group) in our society.’
Several parties challenged the legitimacy of offshore detention during the week. The United Nations said that Papua New Guinea is breaking international law by restricting individuals’ freedom of movement. In a separate matter, several hundred detainees joined an existing legal challenge to their detention under the Papuan constitution. The Australian government reportedly transferred an infant from mainland detention to Nauru. If accurate, this would be the second infant transferred to Nauru this year.
European Union leaders agreed to resettle 40,000 North African and Middle Eastern refugees. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi criticised fellow leaders for a lack of regional solidarity. Over 100,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year.
Read the Kaldor Centre's Weekly News Roundup