House debates

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Statements by Members

Partner Visas

1:39 pm

Photo of Julie OwensJulie Owens (Parramatta, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

When it comes to partner visas you can't get more mean-spirited than this government. Can I say to this government: would you just get out of the way and let people who love each other get on with their lives.

Right now, there are nearly 100,000 Australians and, in many cases, their children in limbo, waiting and waiting for this miserable government to grant their partner visas. We are talking years here. They come into my office: fathers who haven't seen their children for years, and in some cases have not met them but have to talk to them by FaceTime; couples in incredible distress, seeing their marriages under more and more threat every single day. It used to take six months to get a partner visa, then 12—and I felt bad then—and now it has blown out and can take two years or more. One woman in my electorate, with four children, had been waiting five years to be reunited with the husband she thought had died in the war in Afghanistan. Five years she's been waiting—10 years since the children have met their father. These are extraordinary stories.

The Prime Minister is once again showing his true colours, because it was him who did it. When he became the immigration minister, the government put a hard cap on the number of partner visas issued every year. It's hard to imagine why you would do that. Why would you do that? But he did. And, in the last two years, they've reduced the number again and again. Honestly, Prime Minister, get real about this and let Australians who love their families be together.