Last week, Turnbull announced that under a new law all asylum seekers, who have illegally arrived to Australia by boat since July 19, 2013, will be banned from ever entering the country even if they have been classified as refugees.
Manne, a human rights lawyer, said that the Australian parliament should never enact laws that are designed "to deliberately punish people fleeing persecution and seeking safety anywhere, including in Australia." Such legislation, he added, goes against the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees which Australia ratified in 1954.
The parliament should also refrain from passing laws that "propose a lifelong visa-ban for refugees who come by sea," he noted.
Manne pointed out that Australians have expressed "profound concern" over the new law, largely viewing it as an "absurd, completely unnecessary and punitive measure." Of particular concern are the legislation's potentially "ridiculous" implications that could well rob Australia of world-class professionals, who once came to the country by boat as refugees and will now be banned from entering.
"We've seen people in this country who have come by boat with incredible skills," he said. "There are so many other people who may in the future have an Australian family and would be barred from ever reuniting with them or visit them."
The law, Manne added, targets "innocent people who really in this case would ultimately have what is tantamount to a life sentence."
Manne also said that the new law could have been announced because the government is reportedly planning to resettle refugees who have been sent to Australia's offshore processing centers in the Republic of Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
"The difficult thing to understand though is why this announcement on its face does nothing to resolve what has widely been recognized as such an appalling and unsustainable situation for refugees suffering in limbo on Nauru and Manus. It's a situation that urgently needs to be resolved," he said.