Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Refugee Review Tribunal Independence

Yesterday (31-July) the Refugee Review Tribunal overturned the Immigration Dept's refusal to issue a protection visa to a Papuan who sought refuge from Indonesia in January this year. His is the last application to be processed to the "end stage".

The issue of Papuan refugees caused much political angst between Indonesia and Australia, and Indonesia lobbied Australia to refuse to accept the Papuans.

The Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone was quoted the The Sydney Morning Herald today, saying:

"The RRT is a final, independent merits review body and I am

unable to direct its members in their decision making."

At least the RRT is still independent, for the moment. The Federal Government has previously removed the independence of the Industrial Relations Court and established the Office of Workplace Services (OWS) which is under the direct control of the minister.

In a democracy, we must insist that the judicial arm of government remain independent of the executive arm of government. The Separation of Powers really IS important.

The Analyst