The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the main idea of the bill, which is known as giving the bill a second reading. Because this vote was successful, our senators can now consider the bill in greater detail.

What is the bill's main idea?

According to the bill homepage, this bill was introduced:

in response to the High Court’s judgement in NZYQ v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs & Anor (S28/2023) to provide for certain conditions to be placed on bridging visas granted to non-citizens released from immigration detention.

According to the explanatory memorandum (which is a political document prepared by the Government):

The Bill will establish new criminal offence provisions, in relation to certain conduct by non-citizens in the NZYQ affected cohort [i.e., Non-citizens released from immigration detention following the High Court judgment on 8 November 2023 in NZYQ] that constitutes a serious breach of visa conditions, relating to the failure to comply with certain requirements to notify, report to the Minister or the Department, where required to do so under certain mandatory conditions imposed on the BVR [i.e., Subclass 070 (Bridging (Removal Pending)) visa]. These offences are vital to ensuring that non-citizens in the NZYQ-affected cohort remain appropriately engaged with the Department and the Australian Border Force, and cooperate in arrangements to facilitate their removal from Australia.

The new offence provisions that would provide a proportionate response in order to effect re-engagement of the non-citizen with the Department. Attempts to deliberately and repeatedly evade contact with, and monitoring by, the Department of Home Affairs demonstrates a disregard and contempt for Australian laws. This behaviour is contrary to the Australian Community’s expectations that a non-citizen abide by Australia’s laws and that non-citizens will engage with the Department to resolve their migration status.

A criminal offence is the most effective means of response to potential serious breaches of visa conditions within the NZYQ-affected cohort, because it is clear that the normal consequences of breaching visa conditions will not apply to this cohort.

Ordinarily, a visa holder who does not comply with a condition of their visa may be considered for visa cancellation on the basis of that breach - and if cancelled, would be liable to be detained as an unlawful non-citizen. For the NZYQ-affected cohort, immigration detention is not an available option where visa cancellation results in them being an unlawful non-citizen. As such, the prospect of visa cancellation for a breach of a visa condition is not an effective deterrent against non-compliance with reporting requirements. Establishing an offence specifically for NZYQ-affected BVR holders and future BVR holders granted without application by the Minister, makes it clear that compliance with requirements to report to the Department and to notify the Department of changes in circumstances, including address, household, employment and other matters ensures the person remains engaged with the Department. Importantly, the offence encourages compliance with relevant visa conditions and ongoing cooperation in arrangements relating to removal from Australia.

The Bill proposes changes that will apply to those of the NZYQ affected cohort already granted the BVR to cease those visas and replace them, by operation of law, with new BVRs with apply stronger mandatory conditions. Those in the NZYQ affected cohort who are released from immigration detention in the future will also be granted the new BVR with the new suite of conditions.

Votes Passed by a modest majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 11 No
Penny Allman-Payne Queensland No
Dorinda Cox WA No
Mehreen Faruqi NSW No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA No
Nick McKim Tasmania No
Barbara Pocock SA No
Janet Rice Victoria No
David Shoebridge NSW No
Jordon Steele-John WA No
Larissa Waters Queensland No
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania No
Australian Labor Party (72% turnout) 18 Yes 0 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Yes
Raff Ciccone Victoria Yes
Katy Gallagher ACT Yes
Nita Green Queensland Yes
Karen Grogan SA Yes
Malarndirri McCarthy NT Yes
Deborah O'Neill NSW Yes
Fatima Payman WA Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Tony Sheldon NSW Yes
Marielle Smith SA Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Jana Stewart Victoria Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Jess Walsh Victoria Yes
Murray Watt Queensland Yes
Tim Ayres NSW Absent
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Patrick Dodson WA Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
Jenny McAllister NSW Absent
Linda White Victoria Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price NT Country Liberal Party Absent
Andrew McLachlan SA Deputy President Absent
David Pocock ACT Independent Yes
Lidia Thorpe Victoria Independent Absent
David Van Victoria Independent Absent
Jacqui Lambie Network (50% turnout) 1 Yes 0 No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Yes
Tammy Tyrrell Tasmania Absent
Liberal National Party (0% turnout) Absent
Matthew Canavan Queensland Absent
James McGrath Queensland Absent
Liberal Party (45% turnout) 10 Yes 0 No
Wendy Askew Tasmania Yes
Simon Birmingham SA Yes
Slade Brockman WA Yes
Michaelia Cash WA Yes
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania Yes
David Fawcett SA Yes
Sarah Henderson Victoria Yes
Matt O'Sullivan WA Yes
James Paterson Victoria Yes
Anne Ruston SA Yes
Alex Antic SA Absent
Andrew Bragg NSW Absent
Claire Chandler Tasmania Absent
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Absent
Hollie Hughes NSW Absent
Jane Hume Victoria Absent
Maria Kovacic NSW Absent
Kerrynne Liddle SA Absent
Gerard Rennick Queensland Absent
Linda Reynolds WA Absent
Paul Scarr Queensland Absent
Dean Smith WA Absent
National Party (25% turnout) 1 Yes 0 No
Ross Cadell NSW Yes
Perin Davey NSW Absent
Susan McDonald Queensland Absent
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Absent
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (0% turnout) Absent
Pauline Hanson Queensland Absent
Malcolm Roberts Queensland Absent
Sue Lines WA President Absent
Ralph Babet Victoria United Australia Party Yes
Totals (57% turnout) 32 Yes – 11 No