Publications

This is a searchable catalogue of the College's most recent books and working papers. Other papers and publications can be found on SSRN and the ANU Researchers database.

Leading Works in Law and Social Justice

Leading Works in Law and Social Justice

Author(s): Faith Gordon

This book assesses the role of social justice in legal scholarship and its potential future development by focusing upon the ‘leading works’ of the discipline.

The rise of socio-legal studies over recent decades has led to a more interdisciplinary approach to the study of law, which prioritises placing law into its wider social context. Recognising the role that culture, economics and politics play in the development of law is important in order to fully understand the position and impact of law in society. Innovative and written in an engaging way, this collection includes leading and emerging scholars from across the world. Each contributor has been invited to select and analyse a ‘leading work’, a publication which has for them shed light on the way that law and social justice are interlinked and has influenced their own understanding, scholarship, advocacy, and, in some instances, activism. The book also includes a specially written foreword and afterword, which critically reflect upon the contributions of the 'leading works' to consider the role that social justice has played in law and legal education and the likely future path for social justice in legal scholarship.

This book will be an essential resource for all those working in the areas of social justice, socio-legal studies and legal philosophy. It will be of wider interest to the social sciences more generally.

Co-authors: Faith Gordon, Daniel Newman

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy

Vulnerability, Legal Need and Technology in England and Wales

Vulnerability, Legal Need and Technology in England and Wales

Author(s): Faith Gordon

This research explores legal need and legal advice in England and Wales, during the COVID19 pandemic. It uses a theoretical understanding of vulnerability to examine the ways in which this crisis has in practice exposed several pre-existing fragilities in the relationship between the state, the advice sector, and individuals who experience social welfare problems. Our research commences by exploring the concept of vulnerability. In this part, we discuss three things: firstly, the broad range of ways in which vulnerability is experienced by those experiencing social welfare-related issues, secondly, how the idea of vulnerability is often used under austerity-informed policies to identify a limited class of people who are in need ofsocial welfare, and thirdly, the vulnerability of the systemsthemselves which support those individuals through the provision of legal advice. Our research then considers the specific context of the COVID-19 pandemic: it interrogates how social distancing and lockdown measures, in combination with the threat of the virus itself, have compounded the existing fragilities within this relationship.

Drawing on policy documents, reports and three case studies accessed from law centres in England and Wales, it discusses the concept of legal need, and demonstrates how the pandemic has transformed the way that social welfare law needs are experienced, as well as impaired the ability of the sector to meet these needs. These case studies assist us in being able to critically consider the topics of vulnerability, changing needs and the role that technology is playing, and can play, during the pandemic and beyond. Lastly, on the basis of these findings, our research advocates a critical consideration of the sustainability and format of legal advice in addressing legal need in the post-COVID-19 landscape. Drawing on examples of technology being utilised in legal advice sectors in other jurisdictions; this paper considers the future potential of technology for addressing legal need in England and Wales. This is important given that the sector continues to be left vulnerable to funding cuts, and at the same time, society is predicted to experience a continued increase in legal need post-pandemic.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law

Rethinking Richardson: Sexual Harassment Damages in the #MeToo Era

Rethinking Richardson: Sexual Harassment Damages in the #MeToo Era

Author(s): Kieran Pender

The 2014 judgment in Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd (‘Richardson’) had a seismic effect on workplace sexual harassment claims in Australia. Overnight, the ‘general range’ of damages awarded for non-economic loss in such cases increased from between $12 000 and $20 000 to $100 000 and above. The judgment has made Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) litigation considerably more attractive for plaintiffs and resulted in greater judicial recognition of the pain and suffering experienced by sexual harassment survivors. Richardson’s impact has also been felt beyond that immediate context, with the judgment cited in support of higher damages in discrimination cases and employment disputes. However, six years and over 40 judicial citations later, Richardson’s broader significance remains unclear—particularly following the emergence of the #MeToo movement. Drawing on a doctrinal analysis of subsequent case law and qualitative interviews with prominent Australian legal practitioners, this article evaluates Richardson’s legacy and considers how sexual harassment litigation may further evolve to reflect changing societal norms.

Co-authors: Madeleine Castles, Tom Hvala, Kieran Pender

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Centre: LRSJ

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender

Embracing Difference: Governance of Critical Technologies in the Indo-Pacific

Embracing Difference: Governance of Critical Technologies in the Indo-Pacific

Author(s): Jolyon Ford, Damian Clifford

This paper considers what an approach to human rights and the ethical governance of critical technologies could entail for Quad members. Its focus is data-driven technologies, like artificial intelligence.

The key insight of the paper is that policymaking and diplomacy on critical technologies should proceed from a recognition that the uses and impacts of technology are heavily affected by social factors, including local culture, context and legal traditions. Quad membership is often defined by distinguishing from autocratic/non-democratic powers. However, there are also considerable divergences within and between Quad members, and other partners, on what the responsible development, use and governance of technology (and related data) comprises. There are also differences between and within like-minded countries about how technologies are perceived to either pose a risk to, or enhance, security, economic and social interests and values.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law

Committing to human rights in Australia’s corporate sector

Committing to human rights in Australia’s corporate sector

Author(s): Sally Wheeler

This paper draws on data collected from ASX 50 listed corporations. As the UNGP makes clear a visible and accessible policy commitment is the most basic form of recognition that corporations can afford to human rights under the schema it offers. The paper takes the position that this policy commitment gives corporations a chance to declare a positive relationship with human rights. The presence or not of a policy statement, and the form that the statement takes, tells us much about the relationship between the corporate sector in Australia and human rights. The data reveals a low prevalence of policy commitment across the largest publically listed corporations in Australia. The paper selects a range of variables against which to examine whether commitment occurs or not.

The most significant factor that supports policy commitment is membership of human rights engaged global Business and Industry Non-Governmental Organisations (BINGOs). We might expect a rather stronger public commitment to human rights reflecting the position apparently taken by Australian corporations on other ESG standards. However this expectation has to be set against the absence of human rights discourse as a political and cultural artefact at the domestic level.

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Centre: CCL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy

Friends and Foes

Friends and Foes: Human Rights, the Philippine Left and Duterte, 2016-2017

Author(s): Jayson Lamchek

The Philippine left’s short-lived association with the government of Rodrigo Duterte from 2016 vexed political observers, whether sympathetic to or critical of the left. Against the charge that the left was simply subordinated as a political force to Duterte’s multi-class populist-cum-fascist project, this article argues that the left was both friend and foe of Duterte, who promised an aggressive War on Drugs as well as socioeconomic reforms. It situates the left–Duterte relationship within the history of engagement by new political actors with elite democracy in the Philippines since 1987. The friend-and-foe or dual strategy analysis uncovers some of the richness of the left’s progressive engagement with Duterte. This contributes to an understanding of Philippine political history by providing a profile of progressive engagement involving a set of actors different from those who have previously been analysed – viz. national democrats rather than social democrats – and an increasingly authoritarian administration explicitly espousing anti-human rights rhetoric. We specify the conditions for the emergence of the left–Duterte relationship, how it unfolded, and the tipping points that led to its collapse. The findings underscore the complexities and extreme difficulty of transforming Philippine politics through progressive engagement.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy

The Dangers of Human Rights-Compliant Counterterrorism

The Dangers of Human Rights-Compliant Counterterrorism: A Critical Review of the Indonesian Approach

Author(s): Jayson Lamchek

Against the prevailing wisdom that legal frameworks can make the fight against terrorism compatible with human rights, the paper offers an extended pause to draw out the bases for disbelief in the power of constitutional law to tame counterterrorism in Indonesia. It argues that the idea of human rights-compliant counterterrorism partakes of a fantastical quality and involves a great deal of unawareness of counterterrorism as a hegemonic order. The identification of counterterrorism with human rights action is a defining feature of this counterterrorism hegemony. The paper contextualizes this argument in Indonesia. It offers explanations for how Indonesia’s counterterrorism achieved acceptability despite the Constitutional Court having had no role to play in shaping it and despite the counterterrorism legal framework lowering human rights standards. Three characteristics of Indonesian counterterrorism, namely, its focus on Islamist militants, that it is police-led and criminal justice-based, allow it to be presented as consistent with constitutional values. The rhetoric of counterterrorism as fundamentally consistent with human rights helps maintain impunity for extralegal killings and torture of terrorism suspects by police. The paper concludes with an invitation to develop a human rights practice that rejects rather than seeks accommodation with counterterrorism hegemony.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law

Judgment In the Matter of an Application

Pre-charge identification of a minor and Article 14 of the ECHR: Judgment In the Matter of an Application by JKL (A Minor)

Author(s): Faith Gordon

Pre-charge concerns in relation to balancing the interests of all parties, while maintaining one of the core foundations underpinning the criminal justice system – the presumption of being ‘innocent until proven guilty’.

The issue of pre-charge identification has been the subject of debate in recent years following the publication of the identity of a number of celebrities who were arrested in relation to allegations of historic sexual abuse and were subsequently released without charge.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy

Court of Conscience

Court of Conscience ‘Rights and Representation: Children and the Law’

Author(s): Faith Gordon

The Court of Conscience is UNSW Law Society's premier social justice publication. As a multi-award-winning journal, run by a voluntary student editorial board, the publication aims to inspire interest in social justice in the UNSW community and beyond. Dr Gordon's chapter focuses on children's rights in the digital age. 

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy

Regulating transparency on human rights and modern slavery in corporate supply chains

Regulating transparency on human rights and modern slavery in corporate supply chains: the discrepancy between human rights due diligence and the social audit

Author(s): Jolyon Ford

This article examines some of the limits of reporting schemes as a tool for addressing business-related human rights risks and for engaging business in a collaborative effort to improve human rights. Australia’s Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (MSA) is the latest example globally of a legislative scheme intended to foster corporate action on such risks within businesses’ operations and supply chains. Some such schemes require firms to implement human rights due diligence (HRDD) measures, as envisaged by the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. However, the MSA’s model is best described as a disclosure or reporting regime. Such regimes do not require businesses to take HRDD measures; rather, they only require businesses to report on any such measures that they have taken during the relevant reporting period. In this article, we analyse some of the assumptions underlying the design of reporting-based schemes. We then consider one practice used by firms facing supply chain scrutiny: social auditing. We caution against an over-reliance on this practice, which is not synonymous with HRDD. It does not necessarily promote fulsome, non-cosmetic reporting compliance or foster corporate action on underlying human rights risks. We finally offer some alternative approaches that could improve the effectiveness of measures to address human rights risks in supply chains.

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Centre: CCL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy

Experiencing Asylum Appeals

Experiencing Asylum Appeals: 34 Ways to Improve Access to Justice at the First-tier Tribunal

Author(s): Jessica Hambly

There is ongoing concern that Britain’s courts are places that are overwhelming, disorientating and confusing for court users. Asylum seekers are some of the most marginalised people in society and existing research highlights the difficulties they face in disclosing evidence throughout the legal process. Without an accessible process, appellants may be unable or unwilling to speak and participate in their appeal, and therefore important pieces of evidence may not be considered and justice may not be served. Although a lot of attention has been paid to asylum law by academics and policy makers alike, its day to day implementation often escapes critical academic scrutiny. This is arguably because relatively few non-legal scholars study the law, meaning that most analysis is focussed on substantive and doctrinal legal issues rather than questions of process, implementation and experience. It is also extremely time consuming to observe a sufficient number of hearings to be able to draw general conclusions about day to day issues.

Our project adopts an inter-disciplinary perspective on the day to day workings of asylum law within the UK’s asylum appeal hearings. In the following sections we report on a project which examined what happens during asylum appeals by closely observing them from the public areas of hearing rooms. Our observations ran from 2013 to 2019. We complement the perspective our observations offer with interview evidence from appellants as well as others involved in the process.

Co-authors: Nick Gill, Jennifer Allsopp, Andrew Burridge, Daniel Fisher, Melanie Griffiths, Jessica Hambly, Jo Hynes, Natalia Paszkiewicz, Rebecca Rotter and Amanda Schmid-Scott.

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Centre: LRSJ

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Social Justice

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Getting Out of Debt: The Road to Recovery for Victim/Survivors of Family Violence

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

This research and evaluation report undertaken by Dr Liz Curran of the Australian National University (pro bono) looks at research over the two years of the life of a family violence project (with base line data collected in a First Phase Report in November 217) examining a Secondary Consultation (SC) service integrated with Training and Outreach program as well as capacity for strategic advocacy.

The Consumer Action Law Centre project (with part funding from the Victorian Department of Justice & Regulation) aims to overcome barriers for people experiencing family violence identified in previous studies. The research findings (detailed in this report) are that legal assistance services, such as this one of the Consumer Action Law Centre, working with trusted community professionals (to whom people experiencing family violence are likely to turn) if done in a holistic, integrated and seamless, respectful way can enable credit & debt legal issues to be addressed in a timely, creative and effective way. It does this by breaking down barriers that exist to those needing legal help. The report provides some universal insights into the plight and impacts of family violence and ways for effective service delivery without ignoring the challenges for both individuals and a variety of services in providing critical support for victim/survivors of family violence and their family.

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Centre:

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

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The Multilateral Human Rights System: Systemic Challenge or Healthy Contestation?

Author(s): Jolyon Ford

This essay explores some of the parameters and merits of a putative argument that the announcement of June 19, 2018 that the United States would withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council might most properly be understood as but one manifestation of a wider political backlash within the US (and indeed other Western democracies) against the multilateral human rights system epitomized by the Council. There are two prongs to this argument. First, populist-nationalist political sentiment at home simultaneously fuels and is fanned by strident high-profile diplomatic critiques (or even rejections) of global bodies such as the Council. Second, the nature and force of this backlash constitutes a systemic threat to the future of the post-1945 rules-based international order, especially since it comes mostly from the superpower whose values-based rhetoric and leadership has perhaps done most to advance the global human rights agenda in the modern era.

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Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Technology, Law, Governance and Development, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

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Deliberative Constitutional Referendums in Deeply Divided Societies

Author(s): Ron Levy

If referendums are not carefully designed and conducted so as to promote moderation, they may undermine deliberation and hence undermine one of the necessary or principal conditions of their own success. Naturally, there is no suggestion here chat referendums can solve all the ills that deeply divided societies face or that democracy can be reduced to referendums. Yet, if skilfully and sensitively designed, they can play a crucial role, so long, that is, as ordinary people are made to feel that their views count for something in the process.

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Centre: CIPL, DGAL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law, Governance and Development

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Backlash against a Rules-based International Human Rights Order? An Australian Perspective

Author(s): Jolyon Ford

This article engages with the question of whether we can identify a recent populist political ‘backlash’ within some Western democracies against the institutions, instruments and even the ideas of the multilateral (United Nations and treaty-based) human rights system. An associated question concerns what the implications of any such phenomenon might be for the universalist human rights system (or at least Australia’s participation therein), and perhaps the implications for the wider global legal order of which the human rights project has, for decades now, been such an important part. A second question-bundle is whether we can discern signs recently that Australia may be one of those ‘backlash’ states, and what systemic implications this may have for Australia’s oft-repeated fidelity to, and reliance upon, the international rules-based order. Sitting above or behind these questions is the broader issue of whether the concept of ‘backlash’ is useful at all in explaining or analysing recent developments, and/or what modifications or qualifiers it might need. This article attempts to address these questions, focussing first on exploring ways to approach, unpack refine or re-frame the ‘backlash’ concept. It then takes the resulting frame(s) to provide a general overview of recent Australian practice and rhetoric. This is so as to advance a useful characterisation of Australia’s conduct, even if it does not in a ‘Yes/No sense’ meet Sunstein’s definition of systemic-level ‘backlash’ intended to reject a legal order and remove its legal force.

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Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Technology, Law, Governance and Development, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

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Navigating the Backlash against Global Law and Institutions

Author(s): Jeremy Farrall, Jolyon Ford, Imogen Saunders

This article considers the recent ‘Backlash’ against global norms and institutions fuelled by various contemporary political developments within and between states. Understanding the shape, significance and drivers of this phenomenon better is a pre-requisite to developing and analysing possible responses by Australia and other states. The recent rise of populism and ‘illiberal democracy’ especially within major Western democracies has challenged the longstanding and widespread commitment of those states to the rules-based order. These phenomena have also eroded the traditional global leadership, in multilateral forums, of key powers including UN permanent members the United States and the United Kingdom. The populations of these and other states have responded to perceptions of economic and political disempowerment by pressuring political representatives to focus their energies domestically. In order both to appeal and respond to domestic political forces, leaders in these states have sought to target or sometimes scapegoat the international institutions that have hitherto been so useful to their foreign policy agenda. This article examines the consequences of understanding the current populist moment as part of a Backlash against global law and institutions and the ramifications of the Backlash frame for international peace and security. It also considers the implications of the Backlash frame for the international human rights system, the impact of the turn inward for global trade and finance and the Backlash against environmental norms.

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Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Technology, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

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Towards the Uberisation of Legal Practice

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

Uber and Airbnb signify new ways of working and doing business by facilitating direct access to providers through new digitalised platforms. The gig economy is also beginning to percolate into legal practice through what is colloquially known as NewLaw. Eschewing plush offices, permanent staff and the rigidity of time billing, NewLaw offers cheaper services to clients to compete more effectively with traditional law firms. For individual lawyers, autonomy, flexibility, a balanced life, well-being and even happiness are the claimed benefits. The downside appears that NewLaw favours senior and experienced lawyers while disproportionately affecting recent graduates. This article draws on interviews with lawyers in Australian and English NewLaw firms to evaluate the pros and cons of NewLaw.

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Centre: CIPL, CLAH, PEARL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

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Elected Member Influence in the United Nations Security Council

Author(s): Jeremy Farrall

This article reassesses how members of the UN Security Council exercise influence over the Council’s decision-making process, with particular focus on the ten elected members (the ‘E10’). A common understanding of Security Council dynamics accords predominance to the five permanent members (the ‘P5’), suggesting bleak prospects for the Council as a forum that promotes the voices and representation of the 188 non-permanent members. The assumption is that real power rests with the P5, while the E10 are there to make up the numbers. By articulating a richer account of Council dynamics, this article contests the conventional wisdom that P5 centrality crowds out space for the E10 to influence Council decision-making. It also shows that opportunities for influencing Council decision-making go beyond stints of elected membership. It argues that the assumed centrality of the P5 on the Council thus needs to be qualified and re-evaluated.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Social Justice, Law, Governance and Development, Military & Security Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

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The Feminist Fandango with the Legal Academy

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This chapter argues that the fortunes of feminism in the Australian legal academy are closely intertwined with the prevailing political ideology. Social liberalism, with its commitment to egalitarianism, a robust civil society and a modicum of tolerance for the Other coincided with the flowering of second wave feminism. This led to the appointment of feminist academics in law schools and the incorporation of feminist perspectives into their teaching. In contrast, neoliberalism, with its aggressive entrepreneurialism and promotion of the self, encouraged sloughing off a commitment to feminist values. Taking its cue from neoliberalism and reacting against the second wave, postfeminism initially also resulted in a depoliticisation and a turning away from collective action, but signs of a revived feminism caused neoliberalism to move in quickly and colonise it. Mirroring the values of neoliberalism, this incarnation of postfeminism, which one might term ‘neoliberal feminism’, encouraged entrepreneurialism and productivity, particularly on the part of upwardly mobile individual women. It also resonated with the neoliberal law school where students were anxious to secure a position on the corporate track in light of mounting tuition debts and increased competition. More recently, there has been a reaction against neoliberalism which has, once again, brought with it a revived incarnation of feminism and a progressive understanding of the ‘post’.

The fandango in the title carries with it not only the idea of different movements, but also variations in tempo, and even a change of partners. The metaphor is designed to encapsulate the character of the dance between the prevailing political ideology and feminism, and the way that it is reflected in the legal academy. The fandango also refers to the more fluid relationship between feminism and its ‘post’. With postfeminism, we see a constellation of performers, some moving backwards and others forward, often at the same time, which highlights its ambiguity and elusiveness. In adopting a temporal trajectory, this chapter seeks to problematise the ‘post’ in postfeminism, underscoring how it may be simultaneously both reactive and progressive according to the constellation of values that prevail at a particular moment in time.

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Centre: CIPL, CLAH, PEARL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

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Destination Australia: Journeys of the Moribund

Author(s): Kate Ogg

Australia sends many of those who come in search of refuge to regional processing centers in Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Most of these asylum seekers and refugees want to continue their journey to Australia but the Australian Government has vowed that none will be given protection in Australian territory. However, there have been recent developments in the Federal Parliament and Federal Court that have paved the way for certain asylum seekers and refugees in Nauru and Manus Island to come to Australia. In this chapter, I investigate these legislative and judicial developments and argue that they indicate that the place of human rights and international law is becoming increasingly peripheral in Australia’s refugee law and policy and instead transfers to Australia have become medicalized. Australia’s parliamentarians and courts have moved to protect asylum seekers’ physical and mental health but not the rights flowing to them as people, children, and refugees. Asylum seekers and refugees must be moribund before they can use legal processes to transfer to Australia and they come as sick people in need of medical care—not as bearers of legal rights. These developments hamper larger efforts to end or fundamentally reform Australia’s offshore processing regime.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Migration and Movement of Peoples

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