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Australian Border Protection Bill 2015 letters to cross benchers 29 March 2015

Please see below the letter that I have sent to 
the eight cross benchers

Dear Senator Xenophon,
Australian Border Force Protection Bill 2015 [Provisions]
Customs and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
I have read with increasing dismay the details of the two above Bills, which will come before Parliament when it resumes in May. 
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection already has extensive powers in relation to border protection and the management of both onshore and offshore detention centres. The secrecy and complete lack of parliamentary scrutiny surrounding these operations are already a matter of serious public concern. You will of course be aware that, on the few occasions that investigations into activities within the Minister’s portfolio have taken place, the government’s response has been limited, for the most part, to shooting the messenger, including the Australian Human Rights Commissioner and the United Nations.
The Australian Border Force Bill 2015 seeks to increase further the powers of the Minister and to make it more difficult for either the public or Parliament to hold him to account. Section 10, for example, gives the Australian Border Force Commissioner the power to do all things necessary  or “convenient” for, or in connection with, the performance of his or her duties. This is clearly open to an abuse of power. Section 23 allows the Minister to give directions to the Border Force Commission about policies and priorities to be followed. He does not have to declare these directions to the House of Parliament until 15 sitting days after the direction has been given. This gives the Minister far too much power and removes his accountability to Parliament by allowing him to act without prior approval.
There are other sections in the Bill which are of serious concern. It seems clear that the Bill’s central purpose is to give the Minister free rein in the conduct of his duties, and to enable him to escape proper scrutiny and accountability for his actions and for the actions of those who report to him.
The Customs and Other Legislation Bill 2015 clearly seeks to protect the Minister and those answerable to him from any proper scrutiny or accountability in relation to the treatment of asylum seekers.  It  gives carte blanche to authorised officers to do whatever it takes to maintain good order in detention centres. It further enshrines the current climate of secrecy and lack of accountability, making it almost impossible for whistle blowers to raise legitimate concerns about the management and treatment of asylum seekers. Asylum seekers, who are already subjected to threats and violence at the hands of those who are employed to protect them, will find it virtually impossible to seek redress if this Bill is passed.
This is not how a developed democratic country should operate. We are surely better than this. I urge to to examine the details of these two Bills when they come before the Senate, and to do all you can to ensure that they are rejected.
Yours sincerely,
Mike Griffin

Senator Bob Day AO (SA) (Family First) Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices 100 King William Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Senator Jacqui Lambie (Tas) (Independent) 29 Wilson Street
Burnie TAS 7320

Senator Glenn Lazarus (Qld) (Independent) PO Box 228
Brisbane QLD 4001

Senator David Leyonhjelm (NSW) (Liberal Democratic) PO Box 636
Drummoyne NSW 1470

Senator John Madigan (Vic) (Independent) 17 Albert St
Ballarat Vic 3350

Senator Ricky Muir (Vic) (Independent) Level 4, Treasury Place
Melbourne VIC 3002

Senator Dio Wang (WA) (Palmer United) PO Box 6120
East Perth WA 6892

Senator Nick Xenophon (SA) (Independent) Level 2
31 Ebenezer Place
Adelaide SA 5000

Mr Clive Palmer MP
Palmer United Party
PO Box 1978
Sunshine Plaza, QLD, 455 

Analysis of Border Protection Bills click on

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