CRIMS CAN ENTER OZ UNDER ALP BORDER PLAN
Shorten’s softened border policy could let in shady characters
ASYLUM seekers convicted of murder or rape could be allowed entry to Australia under Bill Shorten’s softened border protection policy.
The Saturday Telegraph can reveal new legal advice received yesterday by the federal government shows the border changes pushed by Mr Shorten would not take into account an asylum seeker’s character when transfers to Australia were signed off.
One example was that a non-refugee in PNG convicted of sexually assaulting a local child would be transferred if two doctors believed he should be brought to Australia for medical treatment or assessment. The same would apply to anyone convicted of murder, rape, violent assault and serious drug offences, the legal advice shows.
The doctors could make these recommendations on the basis of a Skype consultation, never actually meeting the person asking to come to Australia.
The amendments to the Migration Act are being pushed by Labor and the crossbench.
Immigration Minister David Coleman told The Saturday Telegraph: “Under Labor’s law, a person who has been convicted of serious offences would have to come to Australia and there is nothing the minister could do to stop it. For the alternative prime minister to support this is staggering.”
Legal advice to the government says that even if an asylum seeker in Nauru was already under investigation for a criminal offence, the Australian government would be forced to transfer him to Australia if two doctors said he should be brought here for medical treatment or assessment. The man could then escape prosecution, and would be able to travel with his family to Australia. The changes, which are expected to have enough support to pass the lower house in February, would effectively mean that even if multiple doctors rejected a transfer, a refugee could be brought to Australia with their family if they found just two medicos to support them. The minister would have to approve the transfer within 24 hours, unless they disputed it on medical grounds or unless the person was a threat to national security under the ASIO act.
If the person was not found to be a security risk within 24 hours, the transfer would be approved.
Mr Shorten (pictured) said his support for the changes was not a softening of Labor’s position on border protection.
“We will turn back boats where it is safe to do so, we will still keep offshore processing,” he said. “If Mr Morrison argues that the only way you have border protection is not to provide timely medical treatment to asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru, that’s rubbish.”