Thursday, 12 November 2020
Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2020-2021; Consideration in Detail
He continues to interject in relation to this point. He's still making the arguments, and he continues to do so now. I simply point out that we have a non-discriminatory immigration program. That will continue. By the very nature of the program we have, people come from all corners of the world, from China, India, Africa, South America, the Americas, Europe, New Zealand—you name it—every corner of the world. It changes each year depending on where the demand is coming from. In each case, people get considered on their merits. Their security checks are done on their merits. Their applications are assessed on their merits. We are the great, successful country that we are today in very large part because of the successful immigration program that successive governments have run for decade upon decade. When the pandemic is over, this country will again continue to be a great immigration country. We will continue to be the greatest multicultural country in the world. So I will not stand for the member for Bruce coming in here and making a slur not just on this government but on Australia in suggesting that we have a policy such as he was suggesting. We do not.
In relation to the partner visas, the member would fully aware that in this budget we almost doubled—almost doubled—the number of partner permanent residency visas for this financial year. That was in part in recognition of the sheer numbers that were applying for that partner residency visa. About 90 per cent of the entire family program is made up of partner permanent residency visas, and consequently we almost doubled that for this financial year. That will address many of the issues that the member has raised.
But I also point out that most people are actually already here in Australia when they are applying for that permanent residency visa. And they will stay here, because while they're waiting for that permanent residency visa to be applied they'll be put on a bridging visa. So there is no question about them not being here in the country with their loved ones,
Mr Hill interjecting—
The member for Bruce constantly interjects. He is aware of the answers to these questions, and he's just making assertions which are incorrect. This government has almost doubled the number of permanent residency partner visas in this budget.
Mr Hill interjecting—
He's constantly interjecting now on different points. The final point that he raised, which again I will address directly, was in relation to what's called the visa application charges. We've made some considerable changes to that in recognition that people may have paid their fee but been unable to get into the country. So we've either waived or deferred those fees or effectively given people a voucher. That is all outlined publicly in my press release also.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.