Weekly media wrap - 25 September 2019

The Federal Court ruled that a family of four Tamil asylum seekers facing deportation has a prima facie case to stay in Australia, and cannot be deported to Sri Lanka until the case goes to a final hearing at a date yet to be determined. The case centres around Australia’s international obligations to provide protection to the family’s two-year-old daughter. The family is currently being held on Christmas Island, where they will remain until the hearing, according to home affairs minister Peter Dutton. 

Documents released to the Senate revealed that Paladin, the security firm contracted to deliver services on Manus Island, has had to pay back $5.7 million to the Australian Government for thousands of breaches of its key performance indicators. Paladin defended these breaches by describing its ‘inability to deploy expat personnel’, but the department of home affairs found this reasoning inadequate to excuse the company’s failures.

The Labor party offered to support a Coalition bill that seeks to amend the Migration Act, provided that a number of conditions be met. The proposed bill, which is currently before the Senate, aims to provide grounds for visa cancellation where a non-citizen has been convicted of a serious crime punishable by two years’ imprisonment, even if a jail term is not imposed. The opposition’s conditions for support – that the bill not apply retrospectively, exempt low-level offences and allow special consideration to be given to New Zealanders – were rejected by immigration minister David Coleman.

An Essential Poll survey of 1093 respondents found that a majority of Australians either support the medevac legislation or believe improved health and welfare services should be provided for people in offshore detention. The survey, though finding majority support for offshore detention at 52%, found that 41% of respondents support medevac legislation as it stands, while 23% believe the legislation does not go far enough to provide humane treatment for asylum seekers offshore.