Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024

Read our submission here.

Women’s Legal Services Australia welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Committee’s inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024.

Many Women’s Legal Services have migration law practices that are funded by the Department of Social Services to provide legal assistance and support services to women on temporary visas or no visa who are experiencing violence and abuse. These Women’s Legal Services have expertise in the range of legal issues and systemic issues impacting migrant women who are victim-survivors of family violence, including in relation to migration law and family law for parenting arrangements.  

We endorse the Human Rights Law Centre’s submission to the inquiry and share the concerns outlined by the Human Rights Law Centre with respect to the Bill in their submission. We further endorse the recommendation of Fitzroy Legal Service regarding Government engagement in a consultative process with community organisations and lived experience groups to develop pathways to community integration for those unable to return to their country of origin.

We are deeply concerned about the impact this Bill will have on victim-survivors of family violence and their children. For the reasons outlined in this submission and in the submission of the Human Rights Law Centre, the Bill exposes people, particularly victim-survivors of family violence and their children, to real risks of serious harm, family separation, undue criminalisation and punitive, discriminatory measures that infringe fundamental human rights, and place people at significant risk of further family violence and gender-based harm.

We are particularly concerned that the Bill will result in increased criminalisation of victim-survivors of family violence, predominately women, who fail to comply with a direction under the Bill; the removal of victim-survivors of family violence to countries where they face a risk of further family violence and gender-based harm without protections; the banning of people from designated countries from travelling to Australia which can isolate victim-survivors of family violence who have been exit trafficked or are in need of support from family or friends after experiencing family violence; and the real risk of family separation and the placement of children in the care of perpetrators of violence or the State in the absence of appropriate alternative care arrangements, contrary to the best interests of children.

The Bill dangerously expands Ministerial powers and has broad, serious, and life-long impacts on those affected.

This Bill should not be passed.