Australia Leaves UN Migration Pact — Won’t Risk ‘Hard-Won’ Border Control Success

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Getty Images/Australian Government

Australia will not be signing up to the UN migration pact, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said, explaining he was was not willing to risk the government’s successes in fighting people trafficking.

“The compact would risk encouraging illegal entry and reverse Australia’s hard-won successes in combating the people smuggling trade,” he said in a joint statement with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

“We believe that the compact is inconsistent with our well-established policies and not in Australia’s interests,” asserted the ministers, adding that the document “fails to adequately distinguish between people who enter Australia illegally and those who come to Australia the right way, particularly with respect to the provision of welfare and other benefits”.

“We do not believe that adopting this agreement will add anything to enhancing our capacity to control our borders and manage our successful migration program.”

Mr Morrison was a major architect of Australia’s ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’ policy that brought an end to asylum seeker arrivals at sea, and the accompanying drowning deaths, by turning the boats back and building offshore processing centres in the Pacific islands.

“I would never allow something to compromise our borders, I worked too hard to ensure that we weren’t in that position,” the Australian premier, who is a devout Christian, told 2GB Radio on Tuesday.

Mr Dutton outlined some of the government’s concerns about signing up to the Global Compact on Safe and Orderly Migration in an interview with Sky News, noting that “certain obligations could be imposed [on signatories] where we needed to support people once they’d been returned back to a country of origin”.

“We’re concerned about whether or not it starves us as a sovereign nation of the ability to decide the way in which we can return people under the compact,” the Home Affairs Minister said.

Australia is the latest in a fast-growing list of countries which are refusing to commit to the UN agreement, with the government’s withdrawal coming shortly after announcements from Poland and Israel that their governments were pulling out of the compact, which is due to be signed in Marrakesh next month.

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