In the High Court hearing on the Malaysian solution this afternoon, Justice Kenneth Hayne reprimanded the Commonwealth Solicitor-General for appearing before him with a”half-baked” case. Considering the government’s frequently expressed confidence that it has all the legal bases covered in the matter of its expulsion of asylum seekers to Malaysia, it’s remarkable that they should have irritated the judge so early in the piece. Perhaps they are not as on top of things as they would have us believe. As pretending to be on top of things while flying by the seat of its pants is pretty much par for the course for the Gillard government, one ought not to be surprised at the “half-baked” comment. Nevertheless, I was surprised to hear they are already in disarray.
Justice Haynes extended the injunction that prevents expulsion of asylum seekers until arguments on the lawfulness of the government’s actions can be heard by the full bench.
One of the points that will be contested is that the agreement with Malaysia, in which that country has undertaken to provide certain protections for the 800 asylum seekers from Australia, is a political not legal agreement, and therefore unenforceable. This casts doubt on Immigration Minister Bowen’s declaration, in which he unequivocally states that Malaysia is a safe destination where human rights and protections will be observed. As Malaysia is not a signatory to any UN Conventions, asylum seekers will not have the protection of international law either.
I wonder what effect these shenanigans will have on Australia’s bid for a seat on the Security Council, so single-mindedly pursued by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd? Helped by some $10.5 million in promotional funding over the next two years?
- Court upholds injunction on asylum seekers (theage.com.au)
- Judge delays deportation to Malaysia (news.theage.com.au)