Good news tonight in the High Court, with Justice Hayne granting an injunction temporarily preventing the removal of asylum seekers to Malaysia:
At 8pm tonight, Justice Kenneth Hayne of the High Court granted limited interlocutory (interim) relief (an injunction) to 41 plaintiffs who are people who risk being removed to Malaysia under the Malaysia solution. They are citizens of Afghanistan and Pakistan. A number of them (around 6) are children.
At the outset, Hayne J suggested that he should consider granting interlocutory relief to 4.15 tomorrow so the matter come back before him for further argument at 2.15 tomorrow.
Debbie Mortimer SC for the Plaintiffs stated that there were 16 plaintiffs scheduled for removal tomorrow at 11.30am. There has been no decision made in respect of other plaintiffs…
In the end, the Plaintiffs were seeking two strands of interlocutory relief:
1. an injunction stopping removal to Malaysia
2. an injunction requiring the Commonwealth to afford the asylum seekers a reasonable chance to get legal advice
Hayne J did not believe it necessary to grant the second stem of the relief, because s 265 obliges the Minister to do so.
But he did grant the first strand of relief, saying that “[the asylum seekers’] claims should not be defeated by their removal from Australia if I cannot say those claims are hopeless”
His Honour expressed no view on the merit of the arguments put before him tonight, but could not say that they are without merit. His Honour stated that the plaintiffs should have the limited relief they seek.
Jessie Taylor goes through this evening’s proceeding in more detail at the above link.
We’ll see what comes tomorrow. That injunction won’t be extended indefinitely – the real fight, on whether the policy is really lawful (particularly the exercise of s198A(3) of the Migration Act) is yet to come.
But let’s be thankful that there are means for the rights of the most vulnerable to be protected from the capricious exercise of power by the unprincipled. This is what inspires people to become lawyers.