The Turnbull government has left open the door to joining the US and Hungary refusing to sign a new global migration deal.
The Australian reports, UN member states, led by Mexico and Switzerland and including Australia, helped negotiate the Global Compact for Migration and the final text suggests it could pressure Canberra to revise its immigration-detention policies and immigration laws.
By contrast, Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has previously called for Australia to withdraw from the UN Refugee convention, and for Australia to independently determine its own immigration intake – that is, completely free from external interference.
While the US dropped out of the new compact in December, the government of Hungary’s anti-immigration nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced last week that his country would also quit the pact which is sees as a “threat to the world” as it could “inspire” people to migrate.
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton (pictured) said the government was still considering its position: “The government will consider the compact and respond later in the year.”
The agreement’s final draft, released this month, says countries should agree to “review and revise” laws that sanction irregular entry and allow the use of immigration detention “as a deterrent”.
The agreement commits countries to shorten the amount of time migrants are detained, after some Labor MPs have pushed for time limits on immigration detention.
“We commit to ensure that any detention in the context of international migration … is carried out by authorised officials, and for the shortest possible period of time,” the text of the deal states.
“We further commit to prioritise non-custodial alternatives to detention in line with international law … using detention as a measure of last resort only.”
In February, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop held a joint press conference with Mr Szijjarto and said Australia and Hungary shared a concern about the pact recognising the importance of national sovereignty. “The circumstances are quite different, but I think we agree on the issue of sovereignty being paramount,” she said.
Australian UN ambassador Gillian Bird released a statement this month that Australia was considering its position but emphasising the country’s border policies.
Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has told radio station Flow FM the whole immigration system is being gamed and as a result, all Australians are disadvantaged.