Saeed’s case raises a larger issue that is increasingly becoming a grave concern for experts who work alongside people seeking asylum – the lack of access to justice for this vulnerable group of people.
In Saeed’s example, his lawyer was denied access to him immediately preceding, during and immediately after his move from Melbourne to Sydney, from where he will be deported.
Much of this is the result of amendments that were made to the Migration Act at the end of 2014, known as “fast track processing” which resulted in:
- A more complex application process for people seeking asylum (which has resulted in 20% less people getting their applications approved);
- Stripped funding for legal assistance for people seeking asylum (so that people have had to go on waiting lists with hundreds to thousands of others, to receive free legal help with these complex application processes); and
- Limited or no rights to appeal the decision made.
To summarise, the Government has created a “fast track process” (1) that means people applying for asylum have a more difficult task, less likelihood of success, less access to legal help to actually complete the task, and almost everything riding on the single decision.
(1) Equally alarming were the political tactics used at the time to get these amendments passed in the Senate, described as “hostage politics” read more here, or in crossbench Senator Ricky Muir’s Senate speech (Transcript or Video).