Bob Carr’s criticism of the High Court’s “Malaysia solution” decision is clearly playing to the peanut gallery in the hope of pre-emptively shifting blame for any future failure of the “PNG solution”. An experienced legislator like Senator Carr would be well aware that Australian courts are bound to interpret legislation consistently with relevant international obligations – in the absence of clear words to the contrary.
The senator points out that “it is the executive government…that ought to make the final decision on whether people be processed on Australian soil”. But if that decision breaches our obligations, then the supporting legislation must explicitly abrogate them, and its authors must then be prepared for the international and moral consequences. Unless Senator Carr is willing to do that – and let us hope he is not – he should let the courts do their job.