Senate debates

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Bills

Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2012; In Committee

9:03 pm

Photo of Nick XenophonNick Xenophon (SA, Independent) Share this | Hansard source

It would be remiss of me after criticising the government for being illogical if I did not criticise the opposition for being quite illogical in terms of its position. The fact is the Houston review made certain recommendations and this bill largely reflects its recommendations. But members of the coalition quite rightly pointed out that they do not know how effective this will be. I think the coalition's position is that it should go further and if it did it would be more effective. Be that as it may, we do not know how effective this will be.

We do not know whether it will work or not work, whether it will backfire, whether human rights issues will not be monitored as recommended by the Houston review. Surely an independent review within 12 months would make some sense. I still do not understand why both the government and the opposition will not agree to a review in the terms that have been put by the Australian Greens. I think those terms are quite objective. They are not loaded terms of reference. The amendment does not seek to get an outcome one way or the other. It is objective, fair and balanced in the way that it has been set out. It just seeks an independent review, and does not direct the government which way the review should go. It gives the government a fair degree of latitude, but it still allows for an independent process to look at the effectiveness or otherwise of this bill. I think this is an opportunity lost.

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