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Submission on Ministerial Discretion in Migration Matters

Southern Communities Advocacy Legal and Education Service, (2004) Submission on Ministerial Discretion in Migration Matters. Submitted to the Senate Select Committee on Ministerial Discretion in Migration Matters, April 2004 .

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Abstract

While we understand the framework of you inquiry, we believe that in order to properly contextualise the comments in this submission we must make some preliminary remarks concerning the way that the refugee determination system operates. It is our view that these observations may assist in fully appreciating the impact of the ministerial discretion.

First, it is very important to express our firm observation that the system is designed to limit the amount of protection visas being issued, rather than to undertake an unbiased determination of each refugee claim. We have anecdotal information that the processes within the Department of Immigration favour refusal of protection visas over approval. Specifically, we understand that when a departmental officer wishes to accept an applicant as a refugee they must seek supervisor approval, whereas when they wish to reject an applicant they need not.

Likewise, the fact that the decisions of departmental officers are reviewed by Tribunal Members who are appointed by the Minister himself and only for limited terms is also in our view problematic. This process coupled with the propensity the Minister has to express decidedly anti-refugee sentiments in the press makes for the impression that the refugee assessment system lacks fairness, balance and ultimately justice.

It is in this context that the issue of the Minister holding an ultimate discretion to decide on the fate of these applicants becomes extremely important.

Publication Type: Others
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
Southern Communities Advocacy Legal and Education Service
Publisher: Southern Communities Advocacy Legal and Education Service
Copyright: Southern Communities Advocacy Legal and Education Service
Publishers Website: http://www.murdoch.edu.au/School-of-Law/Clinical-L...
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/13510
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