In a rare piece of good news on the legal protection of asylum seekers, the federal government passed the Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection) Bill 2011 on 19 September 2011.
News & Views
On 22 September 2011 the Attorney General and Minister for Finance and Deregulation released a public discussion paper to seek community views on the consolidation of Federal anti-discrimination laws.
In a landmark case brought by the HRLC, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has held that Australia violated the human rights of a permanent resident, and breached its international legal obligations, by cancelling his visa and deporting him to Sweden.
On 13 October 2011, the federal government abandoned its plans to introduce the Migration Legislation Amendment (Offshore Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2011. The Bill sought to facilitate the implementation of Australia’s cooperative transfer arrangement with Malaysia concluded on 25 July 2011. Under the non-binding arrangement, 800 asylum seekers who have travelled to Australia by boat without visa documentation (or been intercepted at sea en route to Australia) would be transferred to Malaysia. Australia would in turn, over a four year period, resettle 4000 refugees currently living in Malaysia.
The Gillard government announced career diplomat Penny Williams as Australia’s first Global Ambassador for Women and Girls.
In 2011, two important reports were released on the human rights and needs of survivors of people trafficking. First, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, issued a Report to the Human Rights Council that analysed the right of trafficked persons to an effective remedy. Second, the US Department of State released its annual ‘Trafficking in Persons Report’.
In July 2011, the ACT Human Rights Commission released its Report ‘The ACT Youth Justice System 2011’ which includes an inquiry into the youth justice system by the Children & Young People Commissioner and a Human Rights Audit of the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre by the Human Rights & Discrimination Commissioner.
In 2010 the ACT Attorney-General, Mr Simon Corbell MLA, asked the Law Reform Advisory Council (‘LRAC’) to report on the use of suspended sentences in the ACT. The referral was made in response to 2009 Australian Bureau of Statistics data which showed an increase in the number of orders in the ACT Supreme Court for fully suspended sentences of imprisonment.
Residential Tenancy Databases (‘RTDs’) are used by real estate agents and landlords to share information about ‘problem’ tenants. One concern about RTDs is that the information they contain is sometimes false, ambiguous, out of date or inaccurate. Such information can prevent a tenant securing future housing. There have also been concerns that RTDs are not compliant with the National Privacy Principles.
The genesis of the ACT branch of Victims Of Crime Assistance League (‘VOCAL’) was heralded by the killing of a child, Grant Cameron, at the Duffy Primary School Fete in 1987. The victim’s parents were devastated when they were officially told, without any prior consultation, that the primary offender, also a child, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter. In their own words they were shocked, hurt, betrayed and angry. But, they also felt they were powerless to do anything and that they were letting their son down.