‘Kill Bill’: another test for Labor

Refugees injured by guard violence. Manus Island, 2014.

The proposed Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015, or, as it is better known, “the Kill Bill” will be another test for Labor on asylum seeker policy.

Due to go before Parliament in August, this legislation would make it legal for an officer in a detention centre to use any reasonable force necessary, including causing grievous bodily harm, against a detainee, if they believe it is necessary to protect any person (including themselves). The bill would also permit reasonable force to be used by officers to “maintain the good order, peace or security of an immigration detention facility”.

The Bill passed the House of Representatives in May but was referred to a Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which handed down its report in June. A majority of committee members, including Labor members, recommended that the legislation be passed.

Labor’s support for the bill was subject to a series of amendments to limit the use of force and enable review by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

The Greens, on the other hand, opposed the passage of the bill outright in their dissenting report.

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