If you thought our federal government was tough on border security, the latest development should shatter that perception. The federal government has settled a class action lawsuit with 1,905 asylum seekers who were detained on Manus Island between 2012 and 2016. The lesson to draw from this settlement is that foreigners can illegally come to this country by boat, refuse to go home and then get free money from the hard working Australian taxpayer. This settlement flies in the face of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s recently declared war on fake refugees which includes his recent deportation of six fake Iranian asylum seekers.
The lawsuit claimed the government breached its duty of care by keeping asylum seekers in conditions that caused them physical and psychological harm. Never mind that these asylum seekers voluntary came to Australia, the violence in the offshore centers was caused by the detainees themselves, plus why is Australia obliged to roll out the five star hotel treatment to these people?
If the government thinks that they will get away with this settlement without consequences it is seriously naive. It will empower the human rights industry to pursue further class actions against the government on behalf of so called refugees. Dare I say it could empower the people smugglers to resume their operations with the offer to asylum seekers if you get detained you could eventually receive a pot of money. It also shatters the perception that the Coalition is to be trusted on border security, to see them simply roll over to these human rights lawyers is simply astounding.
The total settlement figure is $70 million, the fact that the settlement does not include an admission of liability is meaningless given the cash amount handed over informally concedes that the asylum seekers’ claims were legitimate. The class action lawsuit was brought by Labor aligned law firm Slater & Gordon which gives us an indication of how a future Labor government would approach the issue of border security.