High Court finds offshore processing of asylum seekers is constitutionally valid
The High Court of Australia has found that the Australian Government’s offshore processing of asylum seekers is constitutionally valid.
The case has been brought by the Human Rights Law Centre which has worked with the Refugee Advice and Casework Service and the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network.
The case sought, amongst other things, a declaration that the Commonwealth’s conduct in enforcing the plaintiff’s offshore detention or the Commonwealth’s entry into contracts in connection with this detention be ruled unlawful, by reason that such conduct is not authorised by any valid law of the Commonwealth.
The High Court found that the offshore processing of asylum seekers is constitutionally valid and held, by majority, that the plaintiff was not entitled to the declaration. The High Court also held that the conduct of the Commonwealth in signing an MOU for the transfer of irregular maritime arrivals to Nauru was authorised by s 61 of the Constitution, and the MOU that included the administrative operations of the centre on Nauru and the Transfield contract was authorised by s 198AHA of the Act.