Challenge to asylum system

Michael Gordon, 1/5/10

The Rudd government’s regime for offshore processing of asylum seekers who try to enter Australia by boat has been challenged as unconstitutional in the High Court. Documents lodged on behalf of 10 Sri Lankan asylum seekers facing return assert they were denied the chance to establish they are refugees and deserving of protection under Australia’s international obligations. ”Our clients are claiming that the decisions in their cases were unfair, unlawful and ultimately unconstitutional,” the coordinator of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, David Manne, told The Age last night. The action claims the offshore process is fundamentally unconstitutional, and that decisions reached under it in individual cases were infected by a denial of procedural fairness and natural justice.