New Australian Migration Case Appeals Bill Introduced

25 March 2004


The Australian Federal Government has introduced a bill into parliament that would impose time limits on migration cases to reduce the number of appeals files against immigration application decisions.

The purpose of this bill is to clear a backlog of innumerous migration cases stuck in the Australian courts, saving the Government at least A$5 million in costs.

The current Multicultural Affairs Minister has stated to Parliament that many migrants who have lost their migration cases appeal through the courts system in order to buy themselves more time in Australia.

The Australian government is concerned about the sharp rise in such judicial review applications being made and the costs and delays incurred from this. For example, in 1995-96 there were only 596 appeals made in the Commonwealth Courts but last year the figure had spiked to 6,900 cases, which has cost the Department over A$19 million.

The proposed bill would establish specific time limits on applications and ensured only the Australian High Court, Federal Court and Federal Magistrates Court could hear these judicial review applications.

Shadow immigration officials are against this bill and the Labour government claims they would abolist the Refugee Review Tribunal and replace this with a Refugee Status Determination Tribunal, which would forward such appeals to the Federal Magistrates Court.