Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - Second Reading - End debate on bill's main idea
Passed by a small majority
No rebellions 90% attendance
The majority agreed that schedule 3 should remain as it is (in parliamentary jargon, they voted that "schedule 3 stand as printed"). This question was put to the Senate after Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced a motion to oppose the schedule.
The bills digest highlights aspects of the schedule that are particularly significant. On the one hand, the schedule states that regulations can (but don't have to) set out criteria for certain visa types (including permanent and temporary protection visas). On the other, it makes an application for one of those visa types invalid if there aren't any regulations setting out relevant criteria.
So, it's not necessary to set out criteria for these visas in regulations. But, if the Immigration Minister doesn't, then it's not possible for people to make a valid application for those visas.
Senator Hanson-Young was particularly concerned with how this schedule may threaten Parliamentary scrutiny of regulations. If the Minister introduces a regulation that Parliament disagrees with, normally Parliament will vote to disallow that regulation. But under this schedule, disallowing a regulation would make any visa applications relying on it invalid. This puts pressure on Parliament to leave regulations as they are even if it disagrees with them.
The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of asylum seekers' claims and support the Government's policies that stop asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat (for example, by intercepting the boats and turning them around). It also re-introduces temporary protection visas "because the Government is of the view that those who arrive by boat without a valid visa should not be rewarded with permanent protection" (see the bills digest)
Some of the changes made by the bill may go against Australia's international law obligations. Particularly Australia's non-refoulement obligations, which stop Australia from sending people to places where their lives or freedoms are threatened. Australia has these obligations because it signed up to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.
For example, the bill will insert a provision into the Migration Act 1958 that says that Australia’s non-refoulement obligations are not relevant to removing people who are not citizens and don't have a visa. The bills digest explains that this change would mean courts won't be able to stop the Government from removing people just because it is against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. In other words, the Government wants to decide how to apply those obligations by itself, without any potential judicial oversight.
For more about which changes may go against these obligations and how, see the bills digest.
The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa between August 2012 and December 2013 and who have not been sent to be processed on Nauru or Manus Island. The Coalition Government says this caseload of asylum claims is the result of the previous Labor Government's policies.
During the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition said it would address this caseload and the changes made in this bill are part of their effort to do this.
More information on the background to the bill is in the bills digest.
Nobody rebelled against their party.
|Australian Greens (90% turnout)||0 Yes – 9 No|
|Sarah Hanson-Young SA||No|
|Scott Ludlam WA||No|
|Christine Milne Tasmania||No|
|Lee Rhiannon NSW||No|
|Janet Rice Victoria||No|
|Rachel Siewert WA||No|
|Larissa Waters Queensland||No|
|Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania||No|
|Penny Wright SA||No|
|Richard Di Natale Victoria||Absent|
|Australian Labor Party (75% turnout)||18 Yes – 0 No|
|Catryna Bilyk Tasmania||Yes|
|Joe Bullock WA||Yes|
|Doug Cameron NSW||Yes|
|Kim Carr Victoria||Yes|
|Jacinta Collins Victoria||Yes|
|Stephen Conroy Victoria||Yes|
|John Faulkner NSW||Yes|
|Alex Gallacher SA||Yes|
|Chris Ketter Queensland||Yes|
|Sue Lines WA||Yes|
|Joe Ludwig Queensland||Yes|
|Anne McEwen SA||Yes|
|Jan McLucas Queensland||Yes|
|Claire Moore Queensland||Yes|
|Deborah O'Neill NSW||Yes|
|Nova Peris NT||Yes|
|Lisa Singh Tasmania||Yes|
|Glenn Sterle WA||Yes|
|Carol Brown Tasmania||Absent|
|Sam Dastyari NSW||Absent|
|Kate Lundy ACT||Absent|
|Helen Polley Tasmania||Absent|
|Anne Urquhart Tasmania||Absent|
|Penny Wong SA||Absent|
|Ricky Muir Victoria Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party||Yes|
|Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party||Yes|
|Gavin Marshall Victoria Deputy President||Yes|
|Bob Day SA Family First Party||Yes|
|Nick Xenophon SA Independent||Yes|
|Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Independent||No|
|John Madigan Victoria Independent||Absent|
|David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party||Yes|
|Liberal National Party (100% turnout)||2 Yes – 0 No|
|Matthew Canavan Queensland||Yes|
|James McGrath Queensland||Yes|
|Liberal Party (68% turnout)||17 Yes – 0 No|
|Eric Abetz Tasmania||Yes|
|Christopher Back WA||Yes|
|Cory Bernardi SA||Yes|
|David Bushby Tasmania||Yes|
|Michaelia Cash WA||Yes|
|Richard Colbeck Tasmania||Yes|
|David Fawcett SA||Yes|
|Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW||Yes|
|Mitch Fifield Victoria||Yes|
|Bill Heffernan NSW||Yes|
|Marise Payne NSW||Yes|
|Linda Reynolds WA||Yes|
|Michael Ronaldson Victoria||Yes|
|Anne Ruston SA||Yes|
|Scott Ryan Victoria||Yes|
|Arthur Sinodinos NSW||Yes|
|Dean Smith WA||Yes|
|Simon Birmingham SA||Absent|
|George Brandis Queensland||Absent|
|Mathias Cormann WA||Absent|
|Sean Edwards SA||Absent|
|David Johnston WA||Absent|
|Ian Macdonald Queensland||Absent|
|Brett Mason Queensland||Absent|
|Zed Seselja ACT||Absent|
|National Party (75% turnout)||3 Yes – 0 No|
|Bridget McKenzie Victoria||Yes|
|Fiona Nash NSW||Yes|
|Barry O'Sullivan Queensland||Yes|
|John Williams NSW||Absent|
|Palmer United Party (100% turnout)||2 Yes – 0 No|
|Glenn Lazarus Queensland||Yes|
|Dio Wang WA||Yes|
|Stephen Parry Tasmania President||Absent|
|Totals (76% turnout)||48 Yes – 10 No|
Turnout is the percentage of members eligible to vote that did vote.