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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 3 May 2012
7.30, DIAC pr, 'integrity' and the political (not legal) queue

Well out of left field, we note the 7.30 Report in NSW last night of the beat up of the Migration Review Tribunal/Refugee Review Tribunal last night.

Ruddock as ex Coalition minister was in the story as was idealistic migration agent Marion Le, hence balance. 

Two so called whistleblowers were asserting (without evidence provided but let's acccept the allegation for now) that a corrupt immigration racket exists for papers via the Afghanistan government outlet in Pakistan, to the effect Pakistanis gain fraudulent papers that they are from Afghanistan.

Apparently the MRT and RRT are too stupid to consider the possibility of fraud. Apparently the good hard working lawyers of the Australian Government Solicitor and indeed big law firms outsourced similar work by DIAC (such as Clayton Utz) are too stupid to employ forensic document analysis (they are not so stupid).

Even corruptly sourced 'genuine' documents via Afghanistan agencies can be legally assessed against verbal evidence and other evidence.

So what was the story really about? Do we view this via the prism of the leadership fights in the NSW ALP, including participants of the NSW Right such as Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, who backed Kevin Rudd in the last damaging ballot? A tickle up perhaps from within the ALP Govt that Bowen has enough on his plate without playing leadership roulette? We say this as we hear objective Fran Kelly on ABC radio national ask the leadership question regarding PM Gillard.

Also we noted heavy moral reliance of the DIAC 'whistleblowers' on 7.30 last night on the the concept of "integrity" in the immigration system for Australia.

Regretably we are aware that "integrity" is already compromised in DIAC towards the rejection of genuine refugees, that is in the opposite direction to the allegation made on 7.30 last night.

We know of a serving federal magistrate who gave a training paper to all Independent Merit Reviewers in recent years. These IMRs contracted by DIAC are set the task of implementing the High Court of Australia decisions about procedural fairness and other legal principles. In that training paper - which we understand the magistrate and DIAC refuse to release to the Catholic Edmund Rice Centre under freedom of information - the magistrate states his political support for strict application of the politically determined queue. The magistrate does this by giving the example of the highly emotional and loaded concept that a refugee allowed in from Afghanistan or similar deprives an African woman suffering all manner of abuse in an African refugee camp getting into Australia. The magistrate grand stands with an example of the proverbial African woman weeping on his arm in Western Sydney out of gratitude.

Significantly this magistrate refers to himself, to paraphrase, as 'one of the club'  having been a Dept of Immigration staffer back to the 1970ies.

There are many political views about such an assertion about the queue by the serving magistrate. That there is no real queue in refugee camps in SE Asia, or it is a flexible political number that changes with community views, as signalled by Minister Bowen himself in 2011 at the ALP National Conference.

The problem is that legally this claim about the 'integrity of the queue' by the serving magistrate has no legal basis in the legal training of IMR tribunal staff. Why so? Because IMR members must consider whether a person is a"refugee" under the relevant treaty, not whether they fit into a political queue number. Similarly the IMR must consider the High Court of Australia decisions on applicability of procedural fairness legal principles, not the political merit or not of a queue set at 10K, 15K or 20K depending on which side of the bed the minister got out of that day.

In short the serving magistrate has misdirected a whole cohort of IMRs by referring to the political queue as relevant to the legal principles for review of merits of an immigration decision. We are aware that senior barristers in NSW who work at Federal Court level are askance at the serving Magistrate's misdirection potentially tainting a whole cohort of IMR trainees.

Presumably many copies of this flawed training paper are in circulation with the numerous serving IMR and will be revealed to the public sooner or later.

Posted by editor at 10:09 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2012 10:11 AM NZT

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