Opposition Leader Hon. Belden Norman Namah
MANUS ASYLUM PROCESSING FACILITY
20th January 2012
B1 Conference Room, National Parliament
It is with regret that I confirm that I have, as the leader of the Opposition, commenced legal proceedings against the Government of Papua New Guinea. The ministers of the O’Neill-Dion government have now received a summons to appear and defend their conduct in the National Court. Our claim, that the Asylum Seekers Detention Scheme is unconstitutional and that the detainees on Manus are held illegally in PNG, has never been legitimately addressed by the government and must now be answered in our highest courts.
We will take this matter as far as necessary to ensure that the values of our nation’s constitution are upheld. Our main objection has always been to the blatant disregard for Section 42 of the Constitution, but this legal challenge also attempts to remedy the many abuses of PNG law and of ministerial powers which have given rise to the situation on Manus.
We challenge the right of the government to force people seeking refugee status in Australia to enter Papua New Guinea, to be illegally and indefinitely detained under inhumane conditions.
We challenge the right of the government to make this arrangement with the government of a foreign nation, again in contravention of our Constitution.
We challenge the manipulation of PNG Migration law by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration in illegally allowing asylum seekers destined for Australia to come under the jurisdiction of PNG refugee laws. We also challenge the abuse of his office in exempting these detainees from any immigration status.
We are filing injunctions to have the current detainees released, and to prevent the government from receiving or detaining any more asylum seekers from Australia.
We are also referring the crucial constitutional elements of the challenge to the Supreme Court.
Our faith remains with the truth and the spirit of our nation, which is written in every line of our National Constitution. I am confident that our Justice System will succeed in upholding this truth, where our government has so regrettably failed.
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