Media release: Labor’s cruel new plan for people seeking asylum is a desperate and futile attempt to outflank the Coalition


The Albanese Labor Government is continuing its race to the bottom on migration and refugee rights today by rushing through legislation that will unfairly punish and jail some of the most marginalised people in the country.

The Migration Legislation (Removal and other Measures) Bill 2024 is designed to force unwilling people to apply for passports to their countries of origin, like Russia, Iran or Sri Lanka, despite their fear of arrest and persecution on return. If people do not comply and facilitate their return to regimes that are known to be brutal, the Government intends to jail them for non-cooperation.

The Bill gives the Immigration Minister the power to direct people in Australia who are legally on a ‘removal pathway’ to take certain actions, If the person fails to do this they will face criminal offences, with a minimum year in prison and up to five.

This means a mother and her children who fled a country like Iran, who went through an unfair refugee determination system Labor is currently dismantling, will all be ordered to seek a passport from the country they fled or face years in jail.

The Bill also creates a list of countries where people can no longer seek a visa in Australia, similar to US President Trump’s 2017 travel ban.

Senator David Shoebridge, Greens spokesperson for Immigration said:

“The Albanese Labor Government is desperately trying to outflank the Coalition to the right, in a cruel contest they can never win.

“This Bill will undoubtedly break up families and betray the multicultural values that Australians are so proud of.

“Jailing mums who refuse to return their kids to cruel regimes like Iran or Russia never used to be a Labor value, at least until today.

“Even the Coalition didn’t think of this in their decade of creative cruelty towards refugees and people seeking asylum.

“This is part of an ongoing cruelty agenda from Labor as they are scheming to come up with novel ways to punish and harm people seeking asylum in this country.

“The Greens will be joining with millions of Australians who want fairness and decency in our immigration and asylum laws and oppose these changes in both houses of Parliament,” Shoebridge said.