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senate vote 2014-12-04#7

Edited by Henare Degan

on 2014-12-11 12:20:42

Title

Description

  • The majority disagreed that the government can and should process the 30,000 unprocessed asylum seeker claims immediately and also immediately release all children from immigration detention. This [motion](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.149.1) was proposed by Greens Senator [Rachel Siewert](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/wa/rachel_siewert) on behalf of Greens Senator [Sarah Hanson-Young](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/sa/sarah_hanson-young).
  • ### Background to the motion
  • Immigration Minister [Scott Morrison](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/cook/scott_morrison) told [cross-benchers](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossbencher) such as Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator [Ricky Muir](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/victoria/ricky_muir) that "if this bill does not pass, the 30,000 people currently awaiting processing will continue to be left in limbo ... [and] the 1,550 people who arrived between 19 July 2013 and the election would be sent to Nauru" (see Senator Muir's [contribution](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.146.1)). Senator Muir said that, in light of the Minister's comments, he was left with "one of the hardest decisions I have had to face—a choice between a bad option and a worse option" (see his [contribution](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.146.1)). In the end, he said he would support the bill (that is, take the bad option) (see [ABC News](http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-05/senate-agrees-to-reintroduce-temporary-protection-visas/5945576) for more information).
  • Greens Senator [Sarah Hanson-Young](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/sa/sarah_hanson-young) said there are currently 559 children in Australian-based detention centres and 167 children detained on [Nauru](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nauru_detention_centre). She condemned Minister Morrison for "using the suffering of these children in detention as a disgusting bargaining chip" to pressure cross-benchers like Senator Muir into passing the bill (see her [whole contribution](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-03.20.12)). With this motion, the Greens were trying to get the Senate to acknowledge that the Immigration Minister could release these children and process the remaining applications immediately (that is, without waiting for this bill to be passed) and to urge him to do so.
  • ### 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 seeks](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.
  • 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).
senate vote 2014-12-04#7

Edited by MA

on 2014-12-11 12:16:15

Title

Description

  • The majority disagreed that the government is able to process the 30,000 asylum seeker claims and so should do so immediately and also immediately release all children from immigration detention. This [motion](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.149.1) was proposed by Greens Senator [Rachel Siewert](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/wa/rachel_siewert) on behalf of Greens Senator [Sarah Hanson-Young](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/sa/sarah_hanson-young).
  • The majority disagreed that the government can and should process the 30,000 unprocessed asylum seeker claims immediately and also immediately release all children from immigration detention. This [motion](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.149.1) was proposed by Greens Senator [Rachel Siewert](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/wa/rachel_siewert) on behalf of Greens Senator [Sarah Hanson-Young](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/sa/sarah_hanson-young).
  • ### Background to the motion
  • How [cross-bench](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossbencher) senators choose to vote on this bill will have a direct impact on whether the bill will pass because both Labor and the Greens have said they will oppose it. One of those cross-benchers is the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator [Ricky Muir](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/victoria/ricky_muir), who [said that he would vote for the bill](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.146.1) because:
  • Immigration Minister [Scott Morrison](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/cook/scott_morrison) told [cross-benchers](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossbencher) such as Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator [Ricky Muir](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/victoria/ricky_muir) that "if this bill does not pass, the 30,000 people currently awaiting processing will continue to be left in limbo ... [and] the 1,550 people who arrived between 19 July 2013 and the election would be sent to Nauru" (see Senator Muir's [contribution](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.146.1)). Senator Muir said that, in light of the Minister's comments, he was left with "one of the hardest decisions I have had to face—a choice between a bad option and a worse option" (see his [contribution](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.146.1)). In the end, he said he would support the bill (that is, take the bad option) (see [ABC News](http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-05/senate-agrees-to-reintroduce-temporary-protection-visas/5945576) for more information).
  • > "*The government has said that, if this bill does not pass, the 30,000 people currently awaiting processing will continue to be left in limbo ... [and] the 1,550 people who arrived between 19 July 2013 and the election would be sent to Nauru.*" (See [ABC News](http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-05/senate-agrees-to-reintroduce-temporary-protection-visas/5945576))
  • Greens Senator [Sarah Hanson-Young](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/sa/sarah_hanson-young) disagreed, saying that Immigration Minister [Scott Morrison](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/cook/scott_morrison) could process the 30,000 unprocessed applications (including children's claims) but has chosen not to for political purposes. She believes he is using these claims as a "disgusting bargaining chip" to force the Senate cross-bench to accept the bill (see her [whole speech](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-03.20.12)).
  • Greens Senator [Sarah Hanson-Young](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/sa/sarah_hanson-young) said there are currently 559 children in Australian-based detention centres and 167 children detained on [Nauru](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nauru_detention_centre). She condemned Minister Morrison for "using the suffering of these children in detention as a disgusting bargaining chip" to pressure cross-benchers like Senator Muir into passing the bill (see her [whole contribution](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-03.20.12)). With this motion, the Greens were trying to get the Senate to acknowledge that the Immigration Minister could release these children and process the remaining applications immediately (that is, without waiting for this bill to be passed) and to urge him to do so.
  • ### 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 seeks](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).
senate vote 2014-12-04#7

Edited by MA

on 2014-12-11 10:52:28

Title

Description

  • The majority disagreed that the government is able to process the 30,000 asylum seeker claims and so should do so immediately and also immediately release all children from immigration detention. This [motion](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.149.1) was proposed by Greens Senator [Rachel Siewert](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/wa/rachel_siewert) on behalf of Greens Senator [Sarah Hanson-Young](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/sa/sarah_hanson-young).
  • ### Background to the motion
  • How [cross-bench](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossbencher) senators choose to vote on this bill will have a direct impact on whether the bill will pass because both Labor and the Greens have said they will oppose it. One of those cross-benchers is the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator [Ricky Muir](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/victoria/ricky_muir), who [said that he would vote for the bill](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.146.1) because:
  • > "*The government has said that, if this bill does not pass, the 30,000 people currently awaiting processing will continue to be left in limbo ... [and] the 1,550 people who arrived between 19 July 2013 and the election would be sent to Nauru. The minister has said that, if this bill does not pass, he would be unable to use statutory processes to assess refugee claims and would need to go through an administrative process.*" (See [ABC News](http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-05/senate-agrees-to-reintroduce-temporary-protection-visas/5945576))
  • > "*The government has said that, if this bill does not pass, the 30,000 people currently awaiting processing will continue to be left in limbo ... [and] the 1,550 people who arrived between 19 July 2013 and the election would be sent to Nauru.*" (See [ABC News](http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-05/senate-agrees-to-reintroduce-temporary-protection-visas/5945576))
  • Greens Senator [Sarah Hanson-Young](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/sa/sarah_hanson-young) disagreed, saying that Immigration Minister [Scott Morrison](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/cook/scott_morrison) could process the 30,000 unprocessed applications (including children's claims) but has chosen not to for political purposes. She believes he is using these claims as a "disgusting bargaining chip" to force the Senate cross-bench to accept the bill (see her [whole speech](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-03.20.12)).
  • ### 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 seeks](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).
senate vote 2014-12-04#7

Edited by MA

on 2014-12-09 12:35:09

Title

  • Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - Second Reading - Process unprocessed claims and release children from detention immediately
  • Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - Second Reading - Process unprocessed claims and release detained children

Description

senate vote 2014-12-04#7

Edited by MA

on 2014-12-09 12:34:38

Title

  • Bills – Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 Second Reading, Senator Siewert Amendment
  • Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - Second Reading - Process unprocessed claims and release children from detention immediately

Description

  • The Senate voted against [Senator Siewert’s](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/wa/rachel_siewert) [amendment](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.149.1) to the second reading motion for the [Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014](http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:legislation/billhome/r5346):
  • The majority disagreed that the government is able to process the 30,000 asylum seeker claims and so should do so immediately and also immediately release all children from immigration detention. This [motion](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.149.1) was proposed by Greens Senator [Rachel Siewert](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/wa/rachel_siewert) on behalf of Greens Senator [Sarah Hanson-Young](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/sa/sarah_hanson-young).
  • > At the end of the motion, add:
  • >
  • >> but the Senate:
  • >>
  • >> (a) is of the view that there is no impediment to the government processing the claims of the 30,000 asylum seekers who are currently languishing in community and immigration detention; and
  • >>
  • >> (b) urges the government to:
  • >>
  • >> * (i) commence processing straight away; and
  • >>
  • >> * (ii) release all children from immigration detention immediately.
  • ### Background to the motion
  • How [cross-bench](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossbencher) senators choose to vote on this bill will have a direct impact on whether the bill will pass because both Labor and the Greens have said they will oppose it. One of those cross-benchers is the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator [Ricky Muir](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/victoria/ricky_muir), who [said that he would vote for the bill](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.146.1) because:
  • > "*The government has said that, if this bill does not pass, the 30,000 people currently awaiting processing will continue to be left in limbo ... [and] the 1,550 people who arrived between 19 July 2013 and the election would be sent to Nauru. The minister has said that, if this bill does not pass, he would be unable to use statutory processes to assess refugee claims and would need to go through an administrative process.*" (See [ABC News](http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-05/senate-agrees-to-reintroduce-temporary-protection-visas/5945576))
  • Greens Senator [Sarah Hanson-Young](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/sa/sarah_hanson-young) disagreed, saying that Immigration Minister [Scott Morrison](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/cook/scott_morrison) could process the 30,000 unprocessed applications (including children's claims) but has chosen not to for political purposes. She believes he is using these claims as a "disgusting bargaining chip" to force the Senate cross-bench to accept the bill (see her [whole speech](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-03.20.12)).
  • ### 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 seeks](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).
senate vote 2014-12-04#7

Edited by Luke Bacon

on 2014-12-05 10:44:18

Title

  • Bills Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014; Second Reading
  • Bills Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 Second Reading, Senator Siewert Amendment

Description

  • <p class="speaker">Kim Carr</p>
  • <p>Mr President, we have had the most irregular of procedures here where a bill has been brought on, no speakers' list has been distributed&#8212;I have not seen it. I have responsibility for the coverage of this matter. I understood there were senators in continuation and you are seeking to put the question. I think we are entitled to know at what stage this bill is at, given that the government has brought this matter on through some shady deal with the crossbenchers and without distribution of the speakers' list or proposed amendments.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Parry</p>
  • The Senate voted against [Senator Siewert’s](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/wa/rachel_siewert) [amendment](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2014-12-04.149.1) to the second reading motion for the [Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014](http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:legislation/billhome/r5346):
  • > At the end of the motion, add:
  • >
  • >> but the Senate:
  • >>
  • >> (a) is of the view that there is no impediment to the government processing the claims of the 30,000 asylum seekers who are currently languishing in community and immigration detention; and
  • >>
  • >> (b) urges the government to:
  • >>
  • >> * (i) commence processing straight away; and
  • >>
  • >> * (ii) release all children from immigration detention immediately.
  • <p>Thank you.</p>
  • <p>Government senators interjecting&#8212;</p>
  • <p>Order! Senator Fifield! Senator Macdonald, I will respond to this first. I am not taking any further points of order at the moment. Senator Carr, I will explain what happened. There was a lot of confusion, I am sure, because no-one on this side stood. I looked across all chamber&#8212;</p>
  • <p>An honourable senator interjecting&#8212;</p>
  • <p>Order! The clerk had called the bill.</p>
  • <p class="italic">Senator Wong interjecting&#8212;</p>
  • <p>No, Senator Wong, I will explain what has happened before I take any further commentary.</p>
  • <p class="italic">Senator Wong interjecting&#8212;</p>
  • <p>I am addressing the chamber, Senator Wong.</p>
  • <p class="italic">Senator Wong interjecting&#8212;</p>
  • <p>I am addressing the chamber, Senator Wong. You will resume your seat!</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Ian Macdonald</p>
  • <p>Throw her out!</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Parry</p>
  • <p>And I don't need assistance from you, Senator Macdonald. What has happened, Senator Carr, was that I look across. No-one, not one senator stood to their feet until Senator Abetz did and he put the bill. Then I called it. Now, because there was confusion on your part on that side and no-one was prepared, I am very happy for the bill to be called on and you seek the call in the second reading debate. I am very happy for that to happen, but I want senators to clearly understand that it is also your responsibility to listen to the clerk when the clerk calls upon a bill, to actually show some respect to the chamber, to actually listen to the proceedings, follow the proceedings and then it is up to you to seek the call. Senator Carr, are you ready to take the call? Senator Carr!</p>
  • <p>Government senators: Take the call!</p>
  • <p>Order on my right! Senator Siewert, do you have a point of order?</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Rachel Siewert</p>
  • <p>No, I want to make a point about what happened, Mr President.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Parry</p>
  • <p>I think I have just done that, Senator Siewert.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Rachel Siewert</p>
  • <p>No, you haven't, with all due respect. Senator Canavan is in continuance on this bill. We were expecting the senator who is in continuance on this bill to take the call.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Parry</p>
  • <p>Thank you for that clarification, Senator Siewert.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Rachel Siewert</p>
  • <p>There is a list and we also expect that for the person who is going to be in continuance you give them the respect to get to their place to stand up to speak.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Parry</p>
  • <p>Thank you, Senator Siewert. I think I clearly explained that no-one sought the call. Not one senator sought the call until Senator Abetz, after a fairly lengthy period, sought the call. We have now resolved that. Senator Canavan did not seek the call. I am giving the call to Senator Carr, so I think the matter is resolved and I will not take any more points of order on the matter. Senator Carr, you have the call in the second reading debate.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Kim Carr</p>
  • <p>Thank you, Mr President. The Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 is perhaps the most significant piece of legislation to be presented to this parliament since the election of the Abbott government in regard to immigration and asylum seekers. The bill has many parts to it and is quite complex. It contains a legislative response to judicial actions. This bill seeks in part to override in part the High Court. The bill contains arrangements which might be regarded as quite unusual, to say the least, whereby the parliament is asked to intervene in a matter that is currently before the High Court. The minister describes this bill as a legislative recognition of the government policies. In fact, it is much more than that; it is an attempt by this government to override the judicial processes which have been established in this country.</p>
  • <p>We have a situation where the government is seeking in a somewhat shoddy manner to undermine a case which is currently concerning the CPSF versus the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. What the minister is actually doing is attempting to scuttle a case before the court. If the legislation is passed, it would render the precedent value of that case redundant. It is a case which is fundamentally important to the application of the Maritime Powers Act. We know that the High Court in this country is extremely important and it ought not be treated in the manner which this bill would have us do. It is inappropriate to be able to go down this path whereby a case which is currently before the High Court, where the High Court has not made a decision&#8212;and the High Court is able to make its decision based on the evidence but it should not have the government intervene in such a manner to disrupt the proceedings that are currently before it.</p>
  • <p>The government says that this is all about saving lives and it makes an emotive appeal to the suggestion that it is the only way in which these matters can be resolved. We know that the impact of policy relates to a whole lot of issues in regard to people currently in Indonesia, people who are arriving by boats. We want to make sure that there is an appropriate response to those actions. The government is claiming that this bill is really all about legislating for a turn back policy, when we have seen quite extraordinary circumstances in regard to Indonesia.</p>
  • <p>The minister's claim that the bill is recognition of the turn back policy is quite deceptive, given that the real interest here is whether or not the government is able to intervene in a legal process currently before the High Court. Labor believes that that action is grossly inappropriate.</p>
  • <p>The bill seeks, at the same time, to resurrect TPV policy. It creates a new class of temporary 'safe haven enterprise visas'. Labor's position on TPVs is well known. We oppose them because they place recipients in limbo. There is no certainty about the way in which they will be treated, about their future within this country. Our view is that people who have been found to be entitled to Australia's protection&#8212;that is, they have genuine refugee status&#8212;should not be treated in the manner that this bill proposes.</p>
  • <p>What we are seeing here is the government trying to undermine the High Court, claiming the political imperative in terms of legitimising its policy, and taking away fundamental rights that people are entitled to have. The vast majority of people will be here, under various arrangements, without any opportunity to secure any future advancement in this country. We saw during the Howard government that TPVs were effectively abandoned because of the failure of such an approach by the government.</p>
  • <p>The bill purports to introduce this new visa class, the safe haven enterprise visa, ostensibly in fulfilment of the undertakings the government made to Mr Palmer. I say 'ostensibly' because the bill has not met those requirements. The explanatory memorandum states that the conditions for the operation of these so-called SHEVs will be laid down by regulation in the new year. The bill therefore holds out, I suppose, some hope that there will be permanency in the future for people, but that is clearly not what the minister is saying publicly. The opposition believes that there ought to be an appropriate, proper pathway to permanency for those who have been resolved to be genuine refugees. You will not find that in these measures that are before the parliament.</p>
  • <p>The measures in this bill would provide a temporary visa, valid for five years, and applicants for this visa would need to demonstrate their intent to work or study in regional Australia. If they do not work or study in regional Australia for at least 3&#189; years of the visa period, they would become eligible, you would think, for further action from the government. Labor's amendments propose that there is a right to work and extend bridging visas to asylum seekers while their claim for refugee status is being assessed.</p>
  • <p>We are concerned that the bill seeks to change the refugee assessment process in a number of ways. The bill seeks to speed up the processing of assessment claims, but it is not clear how this fast-tracking arrangement will work, because the bill depends on various regulations, details of which, of course, have not been provided. The second change is the replacement of the Refugee Review Tribunal by an Immigration Assessment Authority, with a limitation on the existing right of review for adverse decisions. This is a change which is a matter of grave concern. This government has undermined the whole process of legitimate, legal processing of refugee claims. Labor cannot support the limiting of applicants' rights to review the provisions of application processing. We cannot support the proposed fast-tracking of applications, which does not offer any way of reducing the duration of the process but would go a long way towards reducing the rights of people to actually get a fair outcome.</p>
  • <p>There is also the issue of the refugee convention within this bill. The bill seeks to remove any reference in the act to refugees. You cannot possibly ask the Labor Party to support such a proposal. The government argues that the bill in fact codifies the obligations under the existing convention so that the decisions of Australian courts will determine Australia's laws in this area, rather than the decisions of international courts. There is no good reason for changes of this type, and in many cases they are unlikely even to achieve the government's objectives. The minister's second reading speech argued that Australia remains a party to the refugee convention and that this is given legislative effect by the Migration Act. But our courts will inevitably refer to decisions by courts in other common-law countries when determining how obligations of this kind should be interpreted.</p>
  • <p>There is a further problem raised by attempts to codify the law. The bill inserts requirements in the act that, if a person is able to alter their behaviour reasonably, they should not be able to claim Australian protection. Setting this down in fixed, statutory form raises questions that would not be easy to resolve. We simply do not have clear administrative practice in regard to, for example, the protection of people in regard to their sexual preference. Would protection be denied on the basis that the alteration of that behaviour would result in a person not being persecuted in his or her country of origin? The fact remains that, in these measures, we would have different legal standards being applied to certain classes of people in this country. It may not be the intention of the bill, but it is simply impossible to see how you could have this bill interpreted in any other way.</p>
  • <p>The bill also contains a provision for the removal of the 90-day rule for the hearing of various claims by refugees, which is a very important accountability measure and a mechanism by which public servants have to respond to applications. At the time of last year's federal election, about half the protection applications were decided within the prescribed 90 days. But according to the most recent report about the Abbott government's behaviour here, only 14 per cent of decisions were being made within 90 days. This is a 90-day rule which this government has already sought to abrogate by administrative action. We know how important that provision is. Labor will defend that provision within the second reading components of this bill.</p>
  • <p>In essence this bill rewrites, in a far-reaching way, administrative law in regard to immigration. It seeks to set aside due legal process in regard to court actions currently underway. It seeks to undermine the rights of many people who are in this country. This is a further step in the government's downward spiral in regard to the proper treatment of refugees.</p>
  • <p>The government will say that if we do not support these measures then we will not be able to remove children from detention. Frankly, this is a proposition which says that this chamber should respond to a government that is now holding children up as hostages. If the minister were interested in removing children from various offshore facilities, he could do so tonight. He does not need this legislation to achieve that outcome. To suggest that we should respond to quite unfair measures in the hope that we can get children out of detention strikes me as the most crass form of blackmail. Holding children to ransom in that way is something that any government should regard as reprehensible. This is a government that does not blush at such a proposition. Frankly, the idea that we vote for this and we get additional humanitarian assistance places strikes me as in itself quite obscene. If the government were concerned to do these things, it could do them immediately. People do not need to be treated as bargaining chips in the government's desperate bid to further its political objectives of winding up public hostility towards people who are legitimate, bona fide refugees.</p>
  • <p class='motion-notice motion-notice-truncated'>Long debate text truncated.</p>