Australia will not sign a United Nations migration agreement it helped negotiate “in its current form”, Peter Dutton has declared, insisting it is a matter of sovereignty.
Human rights activists have condemned the decision not to become a signatory of global guidelines for dealing with migration as an attempt to avoid further inspection of Australia’s policies.
Confirming the contents of an article which appeared in the Australian earlier this week, the home affairs minister told Sydney radio 2GB that Australia would not sign the UN global compact for migration, which aims to address migration issues in a “safe, orderly and regular” way, if it stayed in its present incarnation.
Australia has taken umbrage at parts of the final draft, which insist “migration detention” should only be used “as a measure of last resort and work towards alternatives”.
The final draft also includes a commitment to “review and revise relevant legislation, policies and practices related to immigration detention to ensure that migrants are not detained arbitrarily, that decisions to detain are based on law, are proportionate, have a legitimate purpose, and are taken on an individual basis, in full compliance with due process and procedural safeguards, and that immigration detention is not promoted as a deterrent or used as a form of cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment to migrants, in accordance with international human rights law”.
Dutton told Alan Jones that while Australia was happy to negotiate “in good faith”, “we’re not going to sign any document that’s not in our national interest and it’s not in our national interest to sign our border protection policy over to the UN”.
“We’re not going to sign a deal that sacrifices anything in terms of our border protection policies,” he said.
“We’ve fought hard for them,” he said, adding Australia would not sign at all if it was deemed by the government to be “not in our national interests”.
“We’re not going to surrender our sovereignty – I’m not going to allow unelected bodies dictate to us, to the Australian people.”