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senate vote 2014-12-04#17

Edited by mackay

on 2014-12-11 16:40:50

Title

  • Bills — Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014; in Committee
  • Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Agree with the amended bill

Description

  • <p class="speaker">Gavin Marshall</p>
  • <p>Senator Hanson-Young, I believe that would make your amendment (12) now redundant, so we should now move to opposition amendments (2) and (3) on sheet 7638.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Kim Carr</p>
  • The majority agreed with the bill as it has been amended during the [Committee stage](http://www.peo.gov.au/learning/fact-sheets/making-a-law.html). This means that the majority want to stop discussing the detail of the bill and now want to vote on whether to pass it in the Senate.
  • ### Bill's main idea
  • The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of [asylum seekers](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugee#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](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporary_protection_visa) "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](http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1415a/15bd040))
  • ### Human rights issues
  • Some of the changes made by the bill may go against Australia's [international law](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_law) obligations. Particularly Australia's [non-refoulement](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_relating_to_the_Status_of_Refugees), the [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Covenant_on_Civil_and_Political_Rights) and the [United Nations Convention against Torture](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Convention_against_Torture).
  • For example, the bill will insert a provision into the *[Migration Act 1958](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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](http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1415a/15bd040#_Toc401816905) 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](http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1415a/15bd040).
  • ### Background to the bill
  • The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by [asylum seekers](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugee#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](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nauru_detention_centre) or [Manus Island](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manus_Island_Regional_Processing_Centre). 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](http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1415a/15bd040#_Toc401816905).
  • <p>Mr Chairman, I believe that the previous Greens amendment would make those provisions now redundant as well, so I do not wish to proceed.</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: We should then move to opposition amendment (1) on sheet 7639.</p>
  • <p>Mr Chairman, I wish to move amendment (1) on revised sheet 7639, with a further&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="italic"> <i>Lights in the chamber having dimmed&#8212;</i></p>
  • <p>Honourable senators interjecting&#8212;</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: Order! This is not the most exciting thing that has happened tonight. I believe there is enough light for us to continue, so we will press on.</p>
  • <p>I would also seek to further amend amendment (1) on revised sheet 7639, clause (iv), which currently says: 'conceal a physical, psychological or emotional disability', to change the word 'emotional' to 'intellectual'. I move revised amendment (1):</p>
  • <p class="italic">(1) Schedule 5, item 7, page 94 (line 3), at the end of subsection 5J(3), add:</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;; or (c) without limiting paragraph (a) or (b), require the person to do any of the following:</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;(i) alter his or her religious beliefs, including by renouncing a religious conversion, or conceal his or her true religious beliefs, or cease to be involved in the practice of his or her faith;</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;(ii) conceal his or her true race, ethnicity, nationality or country of origin;</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;(iii) alter his or her political beliefs or conceal his or her true political beliefs;</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;(iv) conceal a physical, psychological or intellectual disability;</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;(v) enter into or remain in a marriage to which that person is opposed, or accept the forced marriage of a child;</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;(vi) alter his or her sexual orientation or gender identity or conceal his or her true sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.</p>
  • <p>I understand that this is likely to attract the support of the chamber. The government is supporting it. These measures are being moved in the light of the changes the government is making. This is being moved because the replacement of the refugee convention with these preferred interpretations of convention obligations requires much closer definitions of the so-called modifications that people have to enter into if they are to attract support. As a consequence, I believe they are self-evident requirements, and I commend them to the chamber.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Michaelia Cash</p>
  • <p>The government will be supporting the amendment moved by Senator Carr, and I confirm the further amendment in relation to paragraph (iv), replacing the word 'emotional' with 'intellectual'.</p>
  • <p> <i>Friday, 5</i> <i>December</i> <i> 20</i> <i>14</i></p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: The question is that amendment (1) on sheet 7639 (revised) be agreed to.</p>
  • <p>Question agreed to.</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: We will now move to Australian Greens amendment (6) on sheet 7629.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Sarah Hanson-Young</p>
  • <p>The Greens oppose schedule 6 in the following terms:</p>
  • <p>(6) Schedule 6, page 101 (line 1) to page 109 (line 28), to be opposed.</p>
  • <p>This will be the final amendment that I will move tonight. There are some other amendments on the sheet&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Honourable Senators</p>
  • <p>Honourable senators interjecting&#8212;</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: Order!</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Sarah Hanson-Young</p>
  • <p>Sometimes I think this place is full of toolies at schoolies.</p>
  • <p>Honourable senators interjecting&#8212;</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: Senator Hanson-Young, there is no need for any commentary. Please resume your seat again. The Senate should come to order. Senator Hanson-Young, you have the call.</p>
  • <p>This will be the final amendment that I will move tonight. I have other amendments on the sheet, but in the spirit of getting everybody out of here, I will leave them&#8212;</p>
  • <p>Honourable senators interjecting&#8212;</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: Order!</p>
  • <p>Well, I am happy to stay, but I think everyone wants to go home.</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: Please resume your seat, Senator Hanson-Young. If senators could assist the Chair and remain silent. Senator Hanson-Young, you have the call.</p>
  • <p>This amendment is in relation to schedule 6. It is the schedule that effectively renders babies born in Australia stateless. It says that those babies who are born here in Australia to asylum seeker parents, whether they are born in a hospital in Perth, in Adelaide or in Brisbane, will be classified as unauthorised maritime arrivals. This schedule is designed to keep those babies in limbo, along with their families. And, of course, one of the most awful parts of this schedule is that it is retrospective. We know that over 100 babies have been born here in Australia. They were delivered like any other baby. They arrived in the way that any other children in this country have. They are not maritime arrivals, and yet this schedule renders them to be unauthorised maritime arrivals.</p>
  • <p>Furthermore, of those who have already been born, 24 of them, tomorrow when this bill passes, will be on a plane to Nauru. The minister has said that the moment this bill passes those 24 babies, who were born here in Australia, will be on a plane to Nauru. It is putting children back in detention. I see that the minister is here in the chamber tonight, and he is grinning. I find that appalling. Twenty-four babies born in Australia are going to be sent to Nauru under this schedule. It needs to be deleted.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Kim Carr</p>
  • <p>We support schedule 6 of the bill.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Michaelia Cash</p>
  • <p>The government is opposing the amendment moved by Senator Hanson-Young relating to children born to IMAs. I believe I answered a question from Senator Madigan today in relation to this. The current state of the law is that babies born to mothers who are UMAs are expressly covered by the definition of UMA in section 5AA of the act.</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: The question is that schedule 6 stand as printed.</p>
  • <p>Question agreed to.</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: Senator Hanson-Young, you are not proceeding with any more of your amendments?</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Sarah Hanson-Young</p>
  • <p>That is correct.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Kim Carr</p>
  • <p>by leave&#8212;I move opposition amendments on sheet 7640 together:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(1)&#160;&#160;&#160;Schedule 2, item 39, page 46 (lines 14 and 15), omit the item, substitute:</p>
  • <p class="italic">39 Regulation 2.06AA</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;Omit "Protection (Class XA) visa" (wherever occurring), substitute "protection visa".</p>
  • <p class="italic">(2)&#160;&#160;&#160;Schedule 7, item 2, page 110 (line 10), after "visas", insert "(other than protection visas)".</p>
  • <p class="italic">(4)&#160;&#160;&#160;Schedule 7, item 6, page 110 (line 22), omit "including", substitute "other than".</p>
  • <p class="italic">(6)&#160;&#160;&#160;Schedule 7, item 16, page 112 (line 3), omit "The", substitute "Subject to subitem (1A), the".</p>
  • <p class="italic">(7)&#160;&#160;&#160;Schedule 7, item 16, page 112 (after line 8), after subitem (1), insert:</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;(1A)&#160;&#160;&#160;However, the amendments made Part 1 of this Schedule do not prevent a protection visa being granted in relation to an application for a Protection (Class XA) visa made before the commencement of that Part (including such an application that is deemed to be an application for another kind of visa by another provision of this Act).</p>
  • <p class="italic">(8)&#160;&#160;&#160;Schedule 7, item 16, page 112 (lines 9 to 21), omit subitems (2) to (4).</p>
  • <p>The opposition also opposes schedule 7 in the following terms:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(3)&#160;&#160;&#160;Schedule 7, item 4, page 110 (lines 17 and 18), to be opposed.</p>
  • <p class="italic">(5)&#160;&#160;&#160;Schedule 7, items 13 to 15, page 111 (lines 9 to 14), to be opposed.</p>
  • <p>Put simply, we are very concerned to ensure that we protect the principle of having protection visa applications dealt with within 90 days. We believe that reporting on the 90-day rule has been an important accountability measure to ensure that the government operates in a timely way in assessing protection applications. At the end of Labor's period in office, about half of all protection applications were decided within 90 days. However, the most recent report, on 1 March 2014 through to 30 June 2014, indicated that only 14 per cent of cases were determined within the 90-day period. Because this government has an obsession with secrecy, we are concerned to ensure that there are accountability mechanisms built into the legislation. So we will oppose any attempt to water down the 90-day rule.</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: I need to put this question in two parts. The first part is that the amendments be agreed to.</p>
  • <p>Question negatived.</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: The next question is that items 4 and 13 to 15 of schedule 7 stand as printed.</p>
  • <p>Question agreed to.</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: The question is that the bill, as amended, be agreed to.</p>
  • <p></p>