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Greens push for code of conduct for asylum seekers to be disallowed

The Greens are fighting to remove a special behaviour code that asylum seekers who live in the community must abide by, saying it is degrading and unfair to specifically single out a group of people.

The code of behaviour for bridging visas, which was introduced in December, includes basic tenants of the Australian law. But it also says that asylum seekers over 18 must not harass, intimidate or bully any other person or group of people, or engage in any anti-social or disruptive activities that are "inconsiderate, disrespectful or threaten the peaceful enjoyment of other members of the community".

If asylum seekers do not sign the code or they breach it, their visa will be cancelled, the document says.

"The code has been introduced to make sure that people who are granted a bridging visa behave appropriately while in the Australian community," it says.

Greens Immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young is launching a motion of disallowance in the Senate to remove the behaviour code.

“Having one set of laws for some people and another set of laws for others is appalling and it offends the very ideals of democracy," Ms Hanson-Young said.

“Australian law applies to everyone fairly and equally. The fact that the Abbott government is trying to change that is very concerning.”

The behaviour code was implemented after a long-running campaign by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to create a separate behaviour protocol for asylum seekers after the charging of a Sri Lankan asylum seeker who indecently assaulted a woman in a Sydney university dormitory while on a bridging visa.

At the time, Victorian Liberal backbencher Russell Broadbent said there should ''never be special categories of laws for different categories of people ... the rule of law should apply to all and we should not set some people apart''.

Last month it was reported almost 100 people out of more than 23,600 asylum seekers on bridging visas had committed a criminal offence, according to immigration department figures.

The motion will be moved on June 18.

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63 comments

  • Do the "basic tenants of the Australian law" pay rent?

    Commenter
    Decorum
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    May 13, 2014, 7:38AM
    • Asylum seekers being processed in the community are not allowed to work, so of necessity rent is paid in the same way that it is paid by any other receiver of benefits.

      Asylum seekers being processed in the community get lower benefits even than those on Newstart.

      Commenter
      Ross
      Location
      MALLABULA
      Date and time
      May 13, 2014, 8:19AM
    • I just can't believe it......It was an obvious humorous comment yet Ross answered it.

      Commenter
      Jack
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 13, 2014, 10:45AM
    • @Ross - Wow, that went over your head didn't it? @Decorum was referring to the obvious spelling error. "Asylum seekers being processed in the community get lower benefits even than those on Newstart" - so that makes it all right?

      Commenter
      hbloz
      Date and time
      May 13, 2014, 10:57AM
    • Jack, where was the humour in the comment by 'Decorum"?

      Commenter
      Mikey
      Date and time
      May 13, 2014, 11:12AM
    • hi yes, you are correct, there was a play on words - I noticed it, but so many people misuse words on these posts that I did not immediately recognise it as a joke.

      If is similar in scope and depth to many of the genuine anti-asylum seeker statements that appear on these threads.

      Commenter
      Ross
      Location
      MALLABULA
      Date and time
      May 13, 2014, 1:33PM
    • Okay, this thread is now out of hand so let's draw an end to it. My original comment was entirely semantic - the author used "tenants" when she meant "tenets" and my comment was just intended as a good-humoured correction (although it doesn't appear to have been taken that way uniformly, for which I apologise.) For it to be read as an anti-asylum-seeker comment bothers me, but. For the record, I think the "Code of Conduct" is an un-Australian abhorrence that violates all our notions of equality before the law and is just another way to victimise asylum-seekers. It is exploited by Immigration staff and, in my judgment, will lead to many more inequities if it is not removed. There; I hope that's clear.

      Having said that, I still wish that editors would do a better job proofreading!

      Commenter
      Decorum
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      May 13, 2014, 2:02PM
  • The Rudd/Morrison regime does not respect human rights and nor does it respect the rule of law.

    If asylum seekers break the law, then the law should punish them, just as it would do you or me.

    Another sign of their contempt for the rule of law is the adverse security assessments that keep asylum seekers in detention for ever. One wonders why no-one I know has been whisked off the streets and banged up without charge, without knowing what they are alleged to have done or alleged to be capable of doing, and without a chance to defend themselves.

    If ASIO has evidence against these people, let them put it before a court and let the accused confront their accusers. Evidence can be dodgy or fabricated, or weak, or misinterpreted, and witnesses can make mistakes or be malicious.

    If these people are genuine security threats, then try the evidence properly and bang them up to rights if guilty, but with a defined sentence, and liberated if the case proves to be weak.

    At present, we know that there are genuine asylum seekers who are no risk to our security who will spend their life behind bars because habeas corpus and other basic rules of law - brought in for the protection of the innocent and to guard against miscarriage of justice, have been suspended to prove to the gullible public that our governments are 'protecting'us.

    Commenter
    Ross
    Location
    MALLABULA
    Date and time
    May 13, 2014, 7:46AM
    • The bar can not be set low enough to prevent Abbott and Morrison getting under it Ross.

      Commenter
      rext
      Date and time
      May 13, 2014, 8:11AM
    • Rule of Law? Oh the UNHCR. Primarily set up in the aftermath of WW2. Please name a country that follows these regulations to the letter. Also, security assessments are necessary given the growth in terrorism. But there is probably no need as asylum seekers who come to Australia are nothing less than economic migrants such as someone who I shall cease to mention. In regards to ASIO and court processes, I believe, because of terrorism, most Australians would prefer to be safe than sorry.

      Commenter
      Kingstondude
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 13, 2014, 8:28AM

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