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Making Migration Law
The Foreigner, Sovereignty, and the Case of Australia

  • Author: Eve Lester, Institute for International Law and the Humanities, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne
  • Date Published: February 2018
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316805374

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About the Authors
  • The emergence of international human rights law and the end of the White Australia immigration policy were events of great historical moment. Yet, they were not harbingers of a new dawn in migration law. This book argues that this is because migration law in Australia is best understood as part of a longer jurisprudential tradition in which certain political-economic interests have shaped the relationship between the foreigner and the sovereign. Eve Lester explores how this relationship has been wrought by a political-economic desire to regulate race and labour; a desire that has produced the claim that there exists an absolute sovereign right to exclude or condition the entry and stay of foreigners. Lester calls this putative right a discourse of 'absolute sovereignty'. She argues that 'absolute sovereignty' talk continues to be a driver of migration lawmaking, shaping the foreigner-sovereign relation and making thinkable some of the world's harshest asylum policies.

    • Will appeal to both an Australian and international readership wishing to understand the backstory of how this claim has emerged and been authorised in Australia
    • Provides fresh insights into Australia's current policy of mandatory extraterritorial detention of asylum-seekers
    • Canvasses an area of public policy that has hitherto received very little scholarly attention
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book exposes the moral and political bankruptcy that comes with 'absolute sovereignty' - a domestic law doctrine with its origins and currency in the politics of xenophobia and racial discrimination - particularly when courts fail to assert control and apply the principles of legality integral to their duty to do justice. Dr Lester's work is a major point of departure; as she clearly shows, now is the time to question such a serious challenge to democratic government and the rule of law.' Guy S. Goodwin-Gill, Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford

    'Eve Lester's personal energy and passion for this subject shines through this accessible and highly engaging book. It should be a foundational text for all students and scholars seeking to understand Australia's migration law system.' Kim Rubenstein, Australian National University, Canberra

    'Eve Lester's in-depth analysis is most timely and valuable. At a time when migration and refugee policies are at the forefront of international attention and domestic debate, it is hoped the evidence base it provides will contribute to a serious reorientation from current exclusionist thinking towards policies of inclusion and diversity that guarantee freedoms from want and fear.' Volker Türk, UN Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees (Protection), UNHCR

    'This is a book for law and policy makers as well as for judges, human rights lawyers and activists. It provides the backstory so necessary for a proper understanding of Australia's uniquely harsh response to unsolicited migration.' The Honorable Catherine Branson, QC, former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission and former judge of the Federal Court of Australia

    '… a very readable and engaging text whose value extends far beyond the case of Australia … Making Migration Law should be read by scholars and practitioners who are researching foreigner-sovereign relations in such realms as history, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, and literary studies.' International Journal of Refugee Law

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2018
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316805374
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    List of abbreviations
    Prologue: living realities
    1. Introduction
    Part I:
    2. Early international law and the foreigner
    3. A common law doctrine of sovereignty
    4. A constitutionalisation of sovereignty
    Part II: Introduction to Part II:
    5. Mandatory detention
    6. Planned destitution
    7. Conclusion
    Epilogue: a campaign to 'stop the boats'

  • Author

    Eve Lester, Institute for International Law and the Humanities, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne
    Eve Lester is a public and international lawyer with a background in refugee, migration and human rights law, policy and practice spanning more than twenty-five years. An independent scholar and consultant, her work has taken her to Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Pacific in a range of capacities in the non-government sector, with the United Nations, and as an independent adviser to governments. She has taught at the Australian Catholic University, the Australian National University, Canberra, the International Institute for Humanitarian Law, Italy, New York University, and the University of New South Wales.

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