The High Court has today (17 August 2017) unanimously rejected an argument that actions taken by the Commonwealth, its officers and the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection against unauthorised maritime arrivals were invalid or precluded under the Constitution by reason of a decision of the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea which found that treatment of unauthorised maritime arrivals on Manus Island was unsupported by PNG law. In the special case, Plaintiff S195/2016 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (Cth)  HCA 35, the High Court held that the Commonwealth was not bound by any need to conform to the domestic law of any other country.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has introduced the Australian Border Force Amendment (Protected Information) Bill 2017 into the House of Representatives. The Bill sets out to clarify the secrecy and disclosure provisions within the current Australian Border Force Act 2015. It ultimately seeks to reflect the policy intent behind the Act.
Amidst the current High Court challenge to section 503A of the Migration Act 1958, the Federal Government has introduced the Migration Amendment (Validation of Decisions) Bill 2017 into Parliament with the intended effect of preserving existing section 501 character decisions, made relying on information provided by gazetted law enforcement and intelligence agencies. As it currently stands, information of this nature is protected from disclosure to Courts and Tribunals under section 503A.
The Parliament of Australia has seen the introduction of the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 by the Turnbull Government on 15 June 2017. The Bill will set out to strengthen the requirements to become an Australian citizen by increasing the residence requirement and introducing an English competency requirement among other things.
It has been reported that the Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, wants the Federal Government to be given the power to overrule the Administrative Appeal Tribunal (the AAT) with respect to decisions on citizenship matters. Under the proposed changes, Minister Dutton would be given stronger powers allowing him to override the now independent AAT's decisions on citizenship applications.
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