Why is Australia’s Immigration Minister Attacking the Refugee Convention?
No amount of coffee could have prepared me for this headline: “Morrison attacks UN Refugee Convention.”
Over in New York, I audibly moaned into my mid-morning bagel, reading the latest assault on Australia’s integrity off my phone. A colleague asks what’s wrong. I have to explain that the Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (to which she rightfully snorts “Border Protection”) announced that he takes issue with 60 years of international, domestic and comparative judicial interpretation of the UN Refugee Convention.
She stared at me in disbelief and said, “Your Immigration Minister said that? What does that even mean?” It means he has decided that vilifying refugees is no longer enough; he wishes to vilify the legal instrument and the people that provide refugees with legal protection as well.
“Why?” How could I begin to answer that question? Facts, stories, statistics, Australian politics, the law and faces start circling in my head. I instinctively order another coffee.