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Asylum Seekers

Asylum Seekers

Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Briefing Paper No. 13/2008 by Kathryn Simon

This Briefing Paper considers the issue of asylum seekers in Australia. The paper commences with a summary of the current Federal Government’s policy with respect to asylum seekers, in particular immigration detention. It also considers the Federal Joint Standing Committee on Migration’s Inquiry into Immigration Detention in Australia, which is considering a number of key issues that will shape the future of Australia’s policy towards asylum seekers [pp 1-4].

The second section considers the change in the Federal Government’s policy towards asylum seekers in context. It considers the Refugee Convention and Protocol and provides a brief overview of the development of domestic law and policy, examining the policy of mandatory detention, the Tampa incident and the Pacific Solution. It also briefly considers the issue of children in immigration detention, the inquiries into the immigration detention of Cornelia Rau and the deportation of Vivian Alvarez Solon [pp 5-16].

The next section of the Briefing Paper considers the issue of asylum seekers from a statistical perspective. It provides the latest statistics of the number of asylum seekers in immigration detention as well as statistics regarding global and domestic trends. The vast majority of those people in immigration detention originally arrived in Australia with a valid visa [pp 17-23].

The fourth section of the paper examines the change in the Federal Government’s policy towards asylum seekers. The section briefly considers seven new values with respect to immigration detention. It also considers a number of important issues that have received media attention recently for example, the arrival of two boats of asylum seekers at Christmas Island [pp 24-31].

The final section of the paper raises the challenge of the implementation of the policy and the provision of services to asylum seekers, which is relevant to both State and Federal Governments [p 32].