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Supplementary Submission: Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures Bill) 2024

The Law Council set out its concerns about the Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024 (Removal Bill) in its primary submission on 12 April 2024.1 

The Law Council regards the Removal Bill as highly disproportionate and punitive in its effect on predominantly vulnerable individuals. The Removal Bill poses serious questions about Australia’s adherence and commitment to international law, both as to treaties that Australia has ratified and as to customary international law. No evidence of any serious or widespread problem to justify this response has been produced by proponents of the Removal Bill.

These conclusions are supported by the analysis of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (PJCHR) in its 3rd Report of 20242 (published since this Committee’s hearing on the Removal Bill), which advised the Parliament relevantly:

The Law Council also reiterates its objection to the rushed process for passage of this Bill, which has not allowed time for the kind of scrutiny required of such far-reaching changes to the law—changes potentially affecting tens of thousands of migrants (see further below). The Government’s initial intention, as we understand it, was to pass the Removal Bill with the support of the Opposition and with no committee scrutiny at all. When it became clear that was not tenable, an out-of-session meeting of this Committee was held to hear evidence from the Department of Home Affairs (the Department). Only after concerns were raised, including by some Members of this Committee, was the present inquiry convened. Even then, the timeline for submissions and opportunity for hearing from witnesses has been limited. The Law Council recommends that, particularly for new laws with significant impact on rights and liberties, proper committee scrutiny (including by this Committee and the PJCHR) be the default. This default position should only be departed from in times of genuine emergency. Given the lack of justification provided to date for the measures in this Bill, the Law Council does not consider there to be such an emergency in this instance.

This supplementary submission addresses questions taken on notice by the Law Council at its appearance on 15 April 2024, as posed by Committee Members Senator Paul Scarr and Senator Lidia Thorpe. The Senators’ questions are set out below for reference. (Some questions have been grouped together as they appeared more than once in the supplied document.)


1 Law Council, Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024 – Submission to Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, 12 April 2024: 
2 PJCHR, Report 3 of 2024, 17 April 2024: 16-43.
3 Ibid, 3-4.

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