The new “Code of Behaviour” for asylum seekers in the community on Bridging “E” visas — complete with the invocation of miscegenation — appears designed to incite broader sections of the populace, outside the defence forces, to violence against asylum seekers. As Bridging Visa conditions become harsher, with no work and conditional income support, the Minister has already signalled what kind of ‘anti-social behaviour’ — such as gatherings of bridging visa holders in apartment blocks — will constitute a breach of the ‘Code of Conduct’ and which can result in a cut to income support or being sent offshore after visa cancellation. The more impoverished people become, the more they will have to resort to informal and ‘illegal’ economies to survive. The ‘Code of Behaviour’ then becomes a fait accompli — a standard designed for and compelling breach — and then giving license to the consequences that follow for asylum seekers. The ‘Code of Conduct’ vests power over asylum seekers’ lives directly in the hands of the Australian populace — the very same people whom the Minister predicts will be aggrieved by asylum seekers engaging in ‘anti-social acts’ by gathering in large groups in one-another’s homes. The Minister’s attempt to dissolve certain categories of Protection visa and make these the subject of his personal powers is a further attempt to dictate and curtail the flow of asylum seekers into the country along racial lines. Reposing power with the Minister for determing claims under ‘complementary protection’ simply enables the Minister to grant visas to people from ethnic backgrounds that constitute his key constituencies.
[written by Sanmati Verma et al]