Research Handbook on International Refugee Law
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Research Handbook on International Refugee Law

Edited by Satvinder Singh Juss

In an age of ethnic nationalism and anti-immigrant rhetoric, the study of refugees can help develop a new outlook on social justice, just as the post-war international order ends. The global financial crisis, the rise of populist leaders like Trump, Putin, and Erdogan, not to mention the arrival of anti-EU parties, raises the need to interrogate the refugee, migrant, citizen, stateless, legal, and illegal as concepts. This insightful Research Handbook is a timely contribution to that debate.
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Chapter 15: Australia and the Refugee Convention

Savitri Taylor


This chapter deals with the strategies which Australia has employed to minimize the impact of its Refugee Convention obligations on its ability to implement its immigration and border control agenda. The chapter’s content is of wider relevance because, in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis, commitment to human rights is receding and anxieties about uncontrolled population movement are coming to the fore in an increasing number of states. These states are looking to Australia for lessons on how to respond. Three inferences can be drawn from Australia’s conduct over the past 25 years: successive governments have not been politically committed to achieving the object and purpose of the Refugee Convention; they have viewed that Convention as an obstacle to achieving a policy objective to which they have been politically committed, the exercise of complete control over the entry and presence in Australia of non-citizens; and they nevertheless take the view that it is politically untenable, internationally if not domestically, to admit to flouting the Convention while remaining a party to it.

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