The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013 for a third time.
This means that the bill has passed through the Senate. Since it has already passed through the House of Representatives, it can now be sent to the Governor General to become law.
Debate in Parliament
This bill was considered by the Senate on the last sitting day of the 43rd Parliament, which meant the debate had to be short.
Liberal Party Senator Michaelia Cash said that the legislation was “being slammed through the Senate with 3½ minutes of debate” and argued that it showed how “the union movement controls the ALP [Australian Labor Party]”.(Read Senator Cash's whole contribution here. )
A controversial aspect of the bill that was introduced by amendment in the House of Representatives is the requirement that unions are represented on the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration.(See the debate on this amendment here. )
Background to the Bill
The Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013 was introduced by MP O'Connor to “enhance the government's ability to deter sponsor behaviour which is inconsistent with the policy intent of the subclass 457 visa program and other temporary employer sponsored visa programs”.(Read MP O'Connor's comments here. ) At the time this bill was introduced, the 457 visa program was receiving extensive media attention with claims that it was being misused.(See ABC News. A simple explanation of the 457 visa scheme can be found on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website here.)