Australia’s ‘lifetime ban’ on illegal asylum seekers may fail

Canberra, Nov 22 (IANS) The Australian government’s controversial plan to impose lifetime bans on all illegal asylum seekers may fail, as crossbench senators on Tuesday denied their support to the bill in its current form.

Despite being approved by the House of Representatives in November, the bill is set to fail unless Immigration Minister Peter Dutton makes a number of key amendments to please the crossbench, Xinhua news reported.

Having crossbench support is a key for the government to pass the bill as it does not have a Senate majority. However, the plan has come under fire from a number of independents.

While Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) leader Nick Xenophon has described it as “vexed morally”, independent Derryn Hinch has labelled the lifetime ban as “ridiculous”.

“You can’t say to some poor guy who has gone to live in Spain or Belgium (after being denied entry to Australia) that he can’t even come back on a tourist visa,” Hinch said.

The bill was expected to be debated in the Senate next week before the Parliament goes on break until the New Year.