#30 Australia's hidden surveillance machine, the Code of Behaviour - with Zaki Haidari and Dr Anthea Vogl

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Manage episode 331853757 series 3319926
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Today I am talking with Zaki Haidari and Dr Anthea Vogl on Australia’s immigration system and the use of the “Code of Behaviour”.

Zaki is a 2020 Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Hero, an Ambassador for the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, and works at Amnesty International as a Refugee Rights Campaigner. Zaki himself is a refugee, having fled Afghanistan after being targeted to be killed by the Taliban and has survived a terrifying boat journey to Australia in 2012. Despite this and a range of social, legal and financial obstacles, he has thrived, learning English and has become a well-known and respected human rights advocate speaking about the cruelty in Australia’s refugee system.

Anthea is senior lecturer at the UTS Faculty of law. Her work takes a critical and interdisciplinary approach to the regulation of migrants and on-citizens, with lots of this content falling within refugee, migration, and administrative law and theory. She is one of few Australians to highlight the issues in the Code of Behaviour.

As I mentioned, today we discuss the Code of Behaviour. In 2013, then Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, introduced a Code of Behaviour for asylum seekers released from detention. In order to be released from detention, asylum seekers must sign the code. The Code contains obligations on asylum seekers that both duplicate, and exceed the criminal law. These include requiring people to not make sexual contact with another person without their consent, to obey existing Australian laws, and undefined content, like to not engage in any, and I quote “anti-social or disruptive activities that are inconsiderate, disrespectful or threaten the peaceful enjoyment of other members of the community”….you know, like possibly advocating for your human rights. If you are found by the Department to have breached any of these conditions, you can have your welfare taken, or be put back in on-shore or off-shore detention.

All of these provisions are part of what’s called refugee and administrative law. They have all of the flavour and consequences of criminal law, but without any of the checks and balances before courts. Zaki has lived this and Anthea has researched this. Anthea’s research reveals all of these features in more depth, but also, that that non-governmental organisations are being co-opted into acting as police and surveillance officers of refugees and migrants.

We enter a new Albanese government with new Ministers for Immigration and for Home Affairs. This Code was written with a Ministry pencil, and can be erased at a Ministers discretion – Parliament was never involved. Consider writing to your local MP and the Ministers for Immigration and Home Affairs to have this inhumane code removed immediately.

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