Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Migration Amendment (Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2014; In Committee
Again, the government will not be supporting the Australian Greens amendments. These amendments in the bill, contrary to what Senator Hanson-Young has said, are not retrospective—that is, they do not take effect prior to their commencement date. They operate prospectively, albeit in respect of already existing protection visa applications or administrative assessments.
In relation to proposed section 5AAA, the onus on the applicant, there is already an obligation on an asylum seeker to present all of their claims and evidence up-front. In relation to the amendments to sections 91W and 91WA, identity documents, these amendments do not change an existing obligation on the part of a person seeking protection in Australia to provide documentary evidence of identity, nationality or citizenship. In relation to new section 91WB, applications for protection visas by members of the family unit, this does not change the way the current provisions in the Migration Act operate in relation to how members of the same family unit of protection visa holders are dealt with. This amendment simply puts beyond doubt what the current interpretation of the act is.
In relation to schedule 3, making the amendments apply to new arrivals means that it will not capture UMAs or transitory persons already in Australia and living in the community who are currently section 91K barred to be instead made 46A or 46B barred. This will therefore not achieve the intended effect of schedule 3: to streamline the application bars for UMAs and transitory persons.
In relation to schedule 4, the tribunal efficiency measures, the purpose of making the amendments apply to existing applications before the tribunal is to maximise the number of applications affected by these changes, which provide increased efficiency and consistency of decision making.