If Australia signs on to this in ANY form whatsoever there will be electoral hell to pay. The Howard dictum of ‘we decide who comes and the circumstances under which they come’ will be redundant.
Anyone else see a pattern here? Whether its climate and the vandalism of our energy policy, complete with renewable subsidies or boats and borders there is no difference between Labor and their Labor lite cousins, the Liberals.
Despite taking a strong position on other international agreements, Labor has refused to take a position on whether Australia should sign the agreement in the lead-up to this weekend’s by-elections.
UN member states, led by Mexico and Switzerland and including Australia, helped negotiate the Global Compact for Migration and the final text suggests it could pressure Canberra to revise its immigration-detention policies and immigration laws.
While the US dropped out in December, the government of Hungary’s anti-immigration nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced last week the country would also quit the pact.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the pact was a “threat to the world” as it could “inspire” people to migrate.
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the government was still considering its position: “The government will consider the compact and respond later in the year.”
At the start of this month, Labor took a robust position against Tony Abbott’s call for Australia to drop out of the Paris Climate Agreement and said tearing up the deal “would send a signal to the world that Australia’s word cannot be trusted”.
On Monday, Labor immigration and border protection spokesman Shayne Neumann said the pact was a matter for the government of the day.
The agreement’s final draft, released this month, says countries should agree to “review and revise” laws that sanction irregular entry and allow the use of immigration detention “as a deterrent”.
The agreement commits countries to shorten the amount of time migrants are detained, after some Labor MPs have pushed for time limits on immigration detention.
“We commit to ensure that any detention in the context of international migration … is carried out by authorised officials, and for the shortest possible period of time,” the text of the deal states.
“We further commit to prioritise non-custodial alternatives to detention in line with international law … using detention as a measure of last resort only.”
In February, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop held a joint press conference with Mr Szijjarto and said Australia and Hungary shared a concern about the pact recognising the importance of national sovereignty. “The circumstances are quite different, but I think we agree on the issue of sovereignty being paramount,” she said.
Australian UN ambassador Gillian Bird released a statement this month that Australia was considering its position but emphasising the country’s border policies.
Former Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said the Australian government appeared to be making “doubly sure” its policy of offshore processing was not inconsistent with commitments related to detention and did not hand UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “any formal instrumental leverage” to further his criticisms of its border policies.
Mr Guterres was very critical of Australia’s policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers when he was UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Mr Quaedvlieg said Australia has been advocating for a new global migration compact since 2014 but was taking a cautious approach.
“I note the Australian position…(is) of general support consistent with the posture we’ve adopted on this issue for some years now, however we’re taking a cautious approach and seeking additional time before confirming that we will become a signatory,” he told The Australian.
“It is not unusual for individual nation states to analyse the substance of a global compact before confirming their formal agreement as a signatory, to ensure nothing in the substance of the compact is…inconsistent with either their national statutes of law….”