What are they deciding?
The first graph on this page breaks down the cases referred to the IAA by country of origin. A large proportion of the cases being referred to the IAA are for people from Sri Lanka. Many of these would be people of a Tamil background. This is likely due to the Australian Government’s view that the situation for people of Tamil background in Sri Lanka has improved. This is despite a recent UN Special Rapporteur’s report concluding that Tamil people should not be returned to Sri Lanka, where they still face a risk of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
Is it a rubber stamp for the Department?
One of the key concerns about the IAA was that it would significantly decrease scrutiny of the Department's decisions. The usual rule with the IAA, unlike the former RRT, is that it will consider the Department's decisions 'on the papers' without hearing directly from the people involved.
The IAA also can only consider information that had not been provided to the Department earlier (for example, late disclosures of sexual assault) in exceptional circumstances.
This graph shows the IAA's remittal rates (the rate of cases they sent back to the Departmentt to reconsider) by country of origin.
The IAA's remittal rates can be compared to the last available statistics from the previous review system (for people claiming asylum by boat between 2009-2013). These show much higher rates of remittal, ranging from 60-90% for the same nationalities.
As with most decisions by the government, decisions of the Immigration Assessment Authority can be reviewed by the courts. However, the courts are not concerned with whether the decision was correct (that is, whether the person is a refugee), but the much narrower question of whether the IAA made its decision lawfully.
This graph shows the number of judicial reviews and successful outcomes.
This graph breaks down the successful judicial reviews by court.
This graph breaks down the undecided judicial reviews by court.