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senate vote 2015-03-19#8

Edited by pjf

on 2015-03-21 14:30:09



  • <p class="speaker">Sarah Hanson-Young</p>
  • <p>I move Australian Greens amendment (1) on sheet 7674:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(1) Schedule 1, item 11, page 6 (line 26) to page 7 (line 2), omit subsection 91WA(1), substitute:</p>
  • The existing bill states that a protection visa *must* be refused if an applicant presents bogus evidence of the applicant's identity, nationality or citizenship, or if it is believed such evidence has been destroyed.
  • It was argued by Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens) that to flee persecution asylum seekers may need to use false documents as a necessity, and the existing legislation is unfair.
  • The proposed amendment would say that a visa *may* be refused in these circumstances, but the refusal is at the minister's discretion.
  • <p class="italic">(1) The Minister may refuse to grant a protection visa to an applicant for a protection visa if:</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;(a) either:</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;(i) the applicant provides a bogus document as evidence of the applicant's identity, nationality or citizenship; or</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;(ii) the Minister is satisfied that the applicant has destroyed or disposed of documentary evidence of the applicant's identity, nationality or citizenship, or has caused such documentary evidence to be destroyed or disposed of; and</p>
  • <p class="italic">&#160;&#160;(b) other grounds exist on which the Minister may refuse to grant the protection visa.</p>
  • <p>This amendment is in relation to removing the word 'must' and replacing it with 'may' in this section of the bill, where it says that the minister must make an adverse finding when somebody's documents are found to be false or there is not a good enough explanation. I just think it is a little bit dangerous, as always, to insist in the law, in the legislation itself, that the minister must do that. I think we need to build in a little more balance, a little more fairness, a little more ability for some rational thought. That would mean replacing the word 'must' with 'may'. It should not be controversial. The minister still gets to make that decision.</p>
  • <p>There are still the subsequent amendments, which I know have been discussed previously, throughout this debate, about the elements of whether people have to show that they have tried to explain why they do not have the right documentation, with a good explanation of why they do not have the right documentation or indeed evidence of why they do not have the right documentation. But to force the minister to have to make an adverse assessment of that really plays with the lives of people. As I outlined earlier, there are a variety of real reasons why people do not have the right documentation when they arrive on our shores or at our airports as asylum seekers. Getting out of your country often requires you to be smuggled out. That is the way it has been for generations, for hundreds of years. It is just the reality, unfortunately, for people who are seeking asylum. Ensuring that the minister 'may' instead of 'must' make an adverse finding just builds a little more fairness into the legislation.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Michaelia Cash</p>
  • <p>The government will be opposing this amendment. The government's proposed section 91WA is needed to discourage the use of bogus identity documents and the destruction or discarding of documentary evidence of identity, nationality or citizenship by or on behalf of people seeking protection in Australia. This measure is appropriate to the central role that establishing identity, nationality or citizenship plays in the granting of a protection visa.</p>
  • <p>The CHAIRMAN: The question is that amendment (1) on sheet 7674 be agreed to.</p>