According to the SMH, the Abbott Federal Government’s position on sending asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka is against the law.
Australian international law experts have uniformly condemned Australia’s return of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka as a violation of international law that risks sending vulnerable people back to persecution and torture.
So how could this happen? How does a government break the law? As far as I can tell, there are only a few reasonable explanations.
1. They are completely inept.
2. They aren’t inept but don’t have any lawyers on staff to advise them about such actions, nor did they consult an external law firm.
3. They knew they were breaking the law – but didn’t care.
As much as I suspect our Prime Minister is a complete dickhead, I don’t think he or his team are completely inept or stupid, so the only reasonable explanation is option 3 – they knew they were breaking the law but didn’t care.
This leads me to wonder what the implications are when the government deliberately and knowingly breaks the law – does it mean that the concept of “law” is now invalid for the rest of us? Do we live in a lawless land? Are we an outlaw nation? If the government that is there to create laws willingly snubs its nose at the law, doesn’t this somehow mean the whole system of law is now void?
How can a government simultaneously insist that the population obeys the laws of the nation while it willfully breaks international law?