And, it has to be said, that there are aspects of the deal, apparently suggested by Clive Palmer of all people, as to how former detainees can get work towards getting a more secure life in Australia, that are not all bad.
And, of course, some cross benchers were motivated by the "take the least worst option" which would at least get some children out of Christmas Island detention, although Lambie (and the Greens) did have a point that Morrison was using then as a bargaining chip, given that he had the ability to remove them from the island any time he wanted, and he was the one setting up pre-conditions on their release.
That all said, if this summary in The Guardian is right, I don't really see why people shouldn't think "fascist" when there read about his powers:
Previous immigration ministers have decried the burden and the caprice of “playing God” with asylum seekers’ lives, but the government has chosen, instead, to install even greater powers in the office of the minister.
With the Senate’s acquiescence, Scott Morrison has won untrammelled power.
No other minister, not the prime minister, not the foreign minister, not the attorney-general, has the same unchecked control over the lives of other people.
With the passage of the new law, the minister can push any asylum seeker boat back into the sea and leave it there.
The minister can block an asylum seeker from ever making a protection claim on the ill-defined grounds of “character” or “national interest”. His reasons can be secret.
He can detain people without charge, or deport them to any country he chooses even if it is known they’ll be tortured there.
Morrison’s decisions cannot be challenged.
Boat arrivals will have no access to the Refugee Review Tribunal.
Instead, they will be classed as “fast track applicants” whose only appeal is to a new agency, the Immigration Assessment Authority, but they will not get a hearing, only a paper review. “Excluded fast track applicants” will only have access to an internal review by Morrison’s own department.
The bill is a seismic piece of legislation – one that destroys more than it creates.And how did libertarian local hero vote on this? :
Muir and most other crossbenchers said their support was secured by the concessions made to change the bill. The government had already secured the support of the senators Nick Xenophon, David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day. The two Palmer United party senators also eventually showed their support on Thursday after Clive Palmer held a press conference earlier in the day.Now, as I made it clear, this was a very difficult situation for all cross benchers, yet you would have thought that the libertarian one should have been the most conflicted of all. But, yeah nah, we heard more concern from the Palmer Party...
Update: on The Drum last night, there was Adam Creighton, a man with small government, IPA credentials, enthusing that the government's immigration policies had been a clear "win", with no reservations expressed at all about the unbridled discretion this legislation vests in one Minister.
Yet more reason for me to hold him in contempt.
Update 2: Greg Barnes writes today :
The powers given to an Immigration Minister and an internal bureaucratic process to determine the claims of those persons who arrive by boat seeking protection under the Refugees Convention, a fundamental human right, are an abrogation of the principle that questions of legal right and liability should be resolved by the application of the law and not on the basis of power being exercised by government officials.The more I think about it, the more I find it genuinely outrageous that the libertarian commentairiate lets this slide, and prefers to prattle on about too much government spending and same sex marriage.
The Abbott Government's law removes the right of individuals to have their case reviewed by the Refugee Review Tribunal and the courts. This new law is frightening in a genuine sense. It shows contempt by the executive and by legislators who support the unparalleled powers given to the Immigration Minister and the bureaucracy for any check and balance in the exercise of their power.
One is tempted to observe, how dare politicians in Australia criticise Russian president Vladimir Putin for his similarly distorting of Russian democracy when Minister Morrison and his legislative supporters have taken a leaf out of the Putin handbook.