House debates

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Questions without Notice

National Security

2:50 pm

Photo of David ColemanDavid Coleman (Banks, Liberal Party, Minister for Immigration) Share this | Hansard source

in which 1,200 people drowned at sea and 8,000 children were forcibly placed in detention. The greatest public policy failure in Australia's postwar history, an absolute disgrace, is what occurred. We fixed it. We got the kids out of detention. We stopped the boats. Do you know what else we did? We increased Australia's humanitarian program by some 35 per cent.

But do you know what else we've always done? We've said that in multicultural migrant Australia everyone has to play by the same rules and everyone has to pass the character test. Everyone has to pass the character test under this government. Section 501 sets out those important rules that we expect everyone to pass. But, under Labor's notorious amendment (14), which they wrote out—they got a pen and wrote out amendment (14) to the legislation last week—people from Manus and Nauru do not have to pass the character test that applies to every other person coming to Australia on a visa. Every one of the people from the top 10 nations who came to Australia on permanent visas last year—India, China, the United Kingdom, Philippines, Pakistan, Vietnam, South Africa, Malaysia, Nepal, the United States of America—had to pass the character test. Under Labor, people from Manus and Nauru don't, but everyone who is coming on a visa to Australia does.

So Australians are asking: why does Labor want to impose a different standard on their families than on people from Manus and Nauru? If an Australian's sister from China has to pass the character test, why, under Labor, don't people from Manus and Nauru? If an Australian's husband from New York coming to Australia on a spouse visa has to pass the character test, why, under Labor, don't people from Manus and Nauru? If an Australian's friend from India has to pass the character test before getting a job in Australia, why, under Labor, don't people from Manus and Nauru? The opposition own this law. It is their law. They wrote it. It is a disastrous law with more and more failings discovered every day, and they must explain very, very clearly to all Australians: why do the families of Australians have to pass a higher test than people from Manus and Nauru? Why?

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