No more funding for asylum seeker lawyers

The Commonwealth Government will no longer provide legal advice to asylum seekers. Immigration minister Scott Morrison explained, “What we’re saying is that it’s not going to be the responsibility of the taxpayers anymore to fund people pursuing appeals and various other things through the process.” Monash University’s Azadeh Dastyari says the policy change will put genuine refugees at risk: “Several studies have shown that there is a clear correlation between having legal advice and the recognition of a refugee’s status. … There is … much to lose —  including placing refugees in danger of persecution, torture or death.” The Government says asylum seekers should instead seek pro bono assistance from volunteer lawyers.