Jan 31, 2018

Could Scott Morrison’s refugee scheme amount to a criminal offence?

Scott Morrison decided to put politics before the rule of law in 2013. What are the potential legal ramifications?

Greg Barns — Barrister and writer

Greg Barns

Barrister and writer

Scott Morrison

The revelation that in 2013, when he was Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison asked ASIO to slow down security checks on asylum seekers applying for refugee status so they would miss a deadline allowing permanent residency in Australia, is unethical and immoral. But did his actions amount to a criminal offence or is there some civil action that could be brought against Morrison?

It is not suggested Morrison is guilty of an offence but his actions and the motivation for them raise some questions about lawfulness.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

24 thoughts on “Could Scott Morrison’s refugee scheme amount to a criminal offence?

  1. Saugoof

    From Scott Morrison’s maiden speech:
    “From my faith I derive the values of loving-kindness, justice and righteousness, to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of others; to fight for a fair go for everyone to fulfil their human potential and to remove whatever unjust obstacles stand in their way, including diminishing their personal responsibility for their own wellbeing; and to do what is right, to respect the rule of law, the sanctity of human life and the moral integrity of marriage and the family. We must recognise an unchanging and absolute standard of what is good and what is evil.”
    Hypocrite scum.

    1. zut alors

      Homework well executed.

    2. MJM

      My computer’s thesaurus lists the following words as synonyms for hypocrite: pretender, dissembler, deceiver, liar, pietist, sanctimonious person, plaster saint.

      All really suitable given that extract from his maiden speech.

    3. Bill Hilliger

      Yes happy clapper Morrison is a fucking good Christian, as mean spirited and devious as they come. No surprises there!

    4. old greybearded one

      JUust like Ruddock who was once a skilled and compassionate human rights law till Johnny corrupted him.

      1. klewso

        “Politics mean never having to say you’re sorry – all the Commandments are fair game.”

  2. rossco

    If we could have a Royal Commission into pink batts, this definitely warrants another RC. Bring on a change of govt.

    1. bref

      Just a eighteen months to go…

  3. ralph

    The APS code of conduct requires APS officers to “at all times behave in a way that upholds the APS Values and Employment Principles, and the integrity and good reputation of the employee’s Agency and the APS”. We don’t know whether ASIO complied with the Mnister’s request (I look forward to Question Time when Parliament resumes) but if it did then its officers should be pursued. “I was only following instructions” doesn’t cut it.

  4. old greybearded one

    If it not illegal, it should be. Perhaps another reason for Brandis losing the previous solicitor general’s trust?

  5. AR

    Given we have Malfeasance as PM, misfeasance is hardly surprising.
    The government is supposed to be the “ideal litigant” in all its dealings, not hiding documents, evidence or misattributing motives, with malice aforethought but the various whistle blower trials show that to be total bullshit.
    Hell hath no fury like a pollie, esp in government, exposed.

  6. zut alors

    It begs the question of how much more ruthless & despicable Morrison might be if he wasn’t such a devout Christian.

    1. klewso

      “Oh the sanctuary of Coward’s Castle.”

  7. Marion Wilson

    Is anyone shocked? Do we condone politicians using our “protectors” to abuse us? We do not know and cannot find out if some of us have been cruelly deprived of lawful entitlement. The end does not justify the means.

  8. bref

    ScoMo was just one a-hole in line up of immigration minister a-holes from Ruddock on. I guess we all have wish lists, but this one ain’t gonna happen. If push comes to shove, the libs supported by 70% of news media (News Ltd) will just call it fake news, and that’ll be the end of it.

  9. Peter Wileman

    Will this be picked up by the AFP? Or just filed and forgotten as with Michaelia Cash. This mob is totally devoid of morals. The whole system appears to be rotten to the core, so we need a revolution, but one of the few options for a peaceful revolution is withdrawal of labour. But that’s not allowed any more.

    1. bushby jane

      Cash was supposed to be going to some investigation thingy on January 22, but have not read anything yet about what is happening.

  10. bushby jane

    Cash was supposed to be going to some investigation thingy on January 22 but heard no more about it.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details