The Refugee Council of Australia made a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration’s inquiry on the Ending Indefinite and Arbitrary Immigration Detention Bill 2021.
RCOA highlighted that this was the first Bill introduced to the Parliament in a long time that aimed to fundamentally reform Australia’s immigration detention system, in line with what RCOA and many other organisations have advocated for years. RCOA argued that the Bill was in stark contrast to other immigration detention-related Bills that had been put forward by the Australian Government. Of those Bills, none aimed to address the real problems with Australia’s immigration detention system, namely, the lack of a time limit on detention, limited oversight of decisions to detain and the ongoing detention of children. Instead, they all set to make detention conditions more restrictive, further remove the safeguards around arbitrary and indefinite detention, and increase control on the lives of people in detention.
We expressed disappointment at the removal of the Bill from the Notice Paper and its lack of progress. However, we remain optimistic that the inquiry by the Joint Committee will highlight the urgent need for a comprehensive reform to the immigration detention system. We strongly supported the passage of this Bill and hope the new Parliament considers this issue with much higher priority than the current one.
In the submission, we explained the current immigration detention regime and outlined the major issues that arise from the system of indefinite and non-reviewable immigration detention. We also put forward a number of recommendations that can address the current issues with immigration detention system. In an appendix to the submission, we provided a list of submissions and reports that RCOA has published in the past 10 years on the issue of immigration detention in Australia and our recommendations to reduce the harm that these policies have been causing.