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Step by step: the insidious evolution of Australia’s asylum seeker regime since 1992

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posted on 2021-03-19, 01:44 authored by Savitri TaylorSavitri Taylor
I have been thinking and writing about Australia’s asylum seeker policies for over 25 years. When I started back in 1991, the asylum seeker policies now espoused by the major parties would have been inconceivable to most politicians on all sides – but here we are. Explaining how we got here requires me to start further back in time than 1991. It requires me to start, in fact, with the drafting of the founding document of the Australian political and legal system – the Constitution. From there, I consider two key features of contemporary asylum seeker policy – mandatory detention, which was introduced in 1992, and offshore processing, which was initially introduced in 2001. I end the chapter by reflecting on the lessons of our past for our future.



  • La Trobe Law School

Publication Date


Book Title

Refugee journeys: histories of resettlement, representation and resistance


Silverstein J Stevens R


Australian National University Press

Place of publication

Acton, ACT


18p. (p. 193-210)



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