Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Migration Amendment (Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2014; In Committee
The opposition opposes schedule 2 in the following terms:
(5) Schedule 2, page 10 (line 1) to page 15 (line 9), to be opposed.
Schedule 2 of the bill seeks to make significant changes to the way in which Australia will determine if it has protection obligations in relation to certain non-citizens. Specifically, the bill inserts a new section 6A that provides that a non-citizen is not entitled to complementary protection unless the person can prove that it is more likely than not that he or she will suffer significant harm if removed from Australia. Currently, the 'real chance' test means that a person must not be returned to a situation where there is a real chance that they would face significant harm. This means a chance which is not remote or insubstantial but which may be below 50 per cent and may be as low as 10 per cent. These changes have the potential to put vulnerable people seeking Australia's protection at risk of persecution, death or serious harm if returned to their country.
While Labor notes that complementary protection applies to only a small cohort of those who apply for refugee status but are refused, they are nonetheless an important cohort. When Labor introduced the Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection) Act 2011, it was intended to assess and provide protection to those who do not satisfy the definition of a refugee. However, they are nonetheless provided protection on the basis that they face serious violations of their human rights if returned to their country of origin.
The changes proposed in schedule 2 of the current bill are contrary to the complementary protection framework that Labor introduced, and therefore Labor is seeking to have the bill amended to actually remove schedule 2. I welcome the government's agreement to also support this amendment, as well as, I trust, the support of the crossbench.
The CHAIRMAN: Just for the information of the chamber, we probably jumped a little bit ahead, but we will come back to the previous amendments. Just so everyone is aware, we are not in the order of the running sheet at the moment. Senator Carr has requested that the question be put in respect of schedule 2—that is opposition amendment (5) on sheet 7578—and that is presently the question before the chair.