25 Jun 2015

Asylum seeker lawyer hits out at move to plug loophole

4:14 pm on 25 June 2015

A lawyer involved in a court challenge of the Australian government's offshore asylum seeker processing policy has hit out at moves to plug legal loopholes.

The government is rushing through legislation to authorise it to detain people in a foreign country.

The legislation seeks to render as legal Australia's offshore facilities for processing asylum seekers, including in retrospect .

The Abbott government has secured support for the legislation from the opposition Labor ranks.

This comes after a flaw was exposed in the offshore processing system in an ongoing High Court case where a group of asylum seekers on Nauru has challenged the legality of the system.

This group is represented by Australia's Human Rights Law Centre whose executive director Hugh De Kretser says the government has known about the case for a long time.

"There's no justification at all for the absolute haste with which they're trying to rush this legislation through parliament to effectively change the goalposts around the rights of very vulnerable people midway through their High Court case."

Australian detention centre on Manus Island, PNG

Australian detention centre on Manus Island. Photo: REFUGEE ACTION COALITION / AFP