Senate debates

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Bills

Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014; In Committee

10:41 pm

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the minister for clarifying why they so desperately want schedule 2 to be left in there, and for explaining clearly that the arrangement and the deal done between Clive Palmer, Nick Xenophon and Scott Morrison does not deliver permanent protection.

The CHAIRMAN: Senator Hanson-Young, I have drawn your attention to this matter of addressing people by their correct titles.

I apologise, Chair. The deal done between Mr Palmer, Mr Xenophon and Mr Morrison—

Honourable senators: Senator!

The CHAIRMAN: That is good enough for now. That is all right.

is clearly not delivering any type of permanent protection to the 30,000 asylum seekers and refugees that are here. This is why this schedule should be deleted, because it does not deliver anything of the sort in terms of a pathway to permanency. That is clear. The minister has tonight made that crystal clear—the government has no intention of giving anybody a permanent visa. Of course, things like family reunion, as we have heard already tonight, are not included in this piece of legislation. All we see is a bill riddled with a grab for power by the immigration minister in order to pick and choose who he wants to come to this country and who he does not—not based on the refugee convention, not based on what Australia's obligations are and not based on need but based on who Mr Morrison, the immigration minister, wants to allow into this country and who he does not. How has he done this? He has done this by manipulating the good will, the compassion and the desire in this place of people to give hope and decency to asylum seekers and refugees.

We have had the minister use children as bargaining chips to deliver a deal that the minister here tonight has just confirmed does not give any permanent visa. It does not deliver one permanent visa. It does not deliver family reunion. We have seen children used as a bargaining chip—that is the way it rolls with this minister. I wonder if that is the type of leadership that the Liberal Party want to see leading their party.

We know that Minister Morrison desperately wants to become the next prime minister of this country, a man who has used children as a bargaining chip as part of his blackmail politics and, we have heard tonight, to deliver a deal—the Mr Palmer, Senator Xenophon, Minister Morrison deal—which does not even stack up to the things they have been promised.

The CHAIRMAN: The question is that schedule 2 stand as printed.

The Senate divided. [22:49]

(The Chairman—Senator Marshall)

Ayes 33

Noes 30

Incorporation:20141204:(10.45 pm) on AG amendment no. 2 [sheet 7629]: ayes - 33; noes - 30 (Question: that Schedule 2 remain in the bill)

Question agreed to.

The Australian Greens oppose item (3) on sheet 7629 in the following terms:

(3) Schedule 3, page 50 (line 1) to page 56 (line 5), to be opposed.

This amendment deals with schedule 3 of the bill. Schedule 3 gives incredible power to the immigration minister to effectively hold this chamber over a barrel when it comes to the regulations in relation to a number of visas—not just temporary protection visas, not just the SHEVs. It covers a raft of visas, including the permanent protection visas to which, as we have heard from Minister Cash tonight, the government is so vehemently opposed. They so hate the idea of giving genuine refugees permanent protection—or any type of permanent visa.

Schedule 3 effectively allows for the minister to dictate to this place that it is his way or the highway. If a regulation for a visa is made and if we senators do not agree with that regulation, for whatever reason, if we were to disallow any of those regulations it makes any current application for any one of those visas invalid. What an incredible amount of power to hand to a minister who we know cannot be trusted to do the right thing when it comes to treating people fairly, who cannot be trusted to look after children in his care.

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