By Annatina Aguiar
The Australian Border Force Act 2015 which commenced on 1 July 2015 is a very concerning piece of legislation because of its far-reaching consequences for democracy, truth and transparency in relation to Australia’s detention of asylum seekers. It seeks to severely restrict the freedom of speech of “entrusted persons” associated with any detention centre and as such, continues to violate the human rights of asylum seekers housed in Australian detention centres.
Section 42 of the Act is one of the most disturbing aspects of the Act, entitled “Secrecy”. Pursuant to section 42, a person who is an “entrusted person” commits an offence if he or she makes a record of, or discloses, what is termed “protected information”, without express permission from the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. An “entrusted person” is defined to mean government employees, consultants or contractors. “Protected information” means any information that a person comes across while working for, or in, detention centres.