Monday, 14 July 2014
Regulations and Determinations
Migration Amendment (Bridging Visas–Code of Behaviour) Regulation 2013; Disallowance
I draw the attention of the Senate to the fact that this regulation, introduced in December 2013, extended the ability of the government to cancel a BVE for persons who had engaged in behaviour not considered acceptable by the community. It prevented a person who had a visa which was cancelled due to criminal conduct or breach of the code of behaviour from applying for a further visa. The Labor Party takes the view that it is appropriate that people seeking protection are made aware of the expected standards of behaviour and conduct. In 2012, the Labor government introduced a values statement, a precedent to this particular measure, which was made a requirement for the granting of a protection visa. Former Labor minister Chris Evans also introduced ministerial direction No. 55, which guides decision makers in the exercise of visa refusal and cancellation powers under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958.
A character test has existed within the Migration Act for some time. It provides the minister with the power to cancel a visa which has been granted to a person if they reasonably suspect that a person does not pass the character test. The current character test relates to criminal conduct and general conduct that is not of good character. Labor believe that the values statement and the character test currently in place are an appropriate indication of the standards of behaviour that are expected by the community. While we will consult widely and monitor the application of the code over the coming months, we will not support this disallowance.