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Expedited processing of asylum seekers: The future of refugee status determination in Australia?

Jourdain, Chloe (2013) Expedited processing of asylum seekers: The future of refugee status determination in Australia? Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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2013 marks another year wrought with debate on asylum seekers and whether they are in fact refugees, fuelled by a growing number of boat arrivals and significant cost to the Australian government. The major political parties in Australia have been focused on how to ‘stop the boats’ and finding alternative ways to process claims for refugee status. Media reports since August 2012 have referred to an enhanced screening process whereby asylum seekers arriving by boat have not been given access to Australia’s refugee status determination procedures, returned to their country without sufficient assessment of any claim for asylum.

The Liberal-National Coalition indicated that they will introduce expedited processing of asylum seekers, modelled on the Detained Fast Track Processes in the United Kingdom. The expedited processing of asylum seekers is one alternative to standard refugee status determination procedures.

This thesis examines whether Australia can meet its international protection obligations under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees if expedited processing procedures are introduced with the appropriate procedural safeguards. An over view of the expedited procedures in practice in the UK and the US is followed by a comparative analysis and assessment of whether procedures in the US and the UK meet international protection obligations and contain the appropriate procedural safeguards. Finally I have developed recommendations for Australia based on my analysis of the expedited procedures in the US and the UK. If expedited processing is to be implemented in Australia it should complement our current system, not replace it, and any proposal must contain comprehensive procedural safeguards.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Supervisor(s): Copeland, Anna
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