Senate debates

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


Migration Amendment (Charging for a Migration Outcome) Bill 2015; In Committee

6:25 pm

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

I just want to indicate, firstly, in relation to the issue of some of my colleagues negotiating with the government, that I commend them for doing so. For a whole range of reasons, partly because of other commitments, I was not part of that. I think my colleagues did invite me to be part of it. The reservation I had was in relation to the amendments to do with human trafficking and coercion. I have some questions to ask of the government in respect of that when we get to those issues. I think my colleagues on the cross bench have acted in good faith to get the best possible outcome. I am certainly not critical of them; good on them for going down their path, and I commend them for their initiative. I do have some reservations, though. For instance, I supported the opposition in terms of the increased maximum penalties. It is still at the discretion of the court as to what the penalty will be, but I think you do need to have strong deterrence in respect of that.

I cannot in good conscience support this particular amendment. I can understand Senator Carr's intent in respect of it. In terms of issues of backpackers being potentially exploited, I think the issue is one of enforcement through the mechanisms that have been set out by the minister. So, if there is an issue of exploitation of the use of ABNs at the moment, then that ought to be a subject of rigorous and robust enforcement. That is the preferred course, and I think that it is more appropriately dealt with under that. But I am interested in asking some questions about human trafficking and coercion, because I have some concerns about that and some real sympathy for Senator Carr in moving those amendments. I commend him for moving them, but we will get to those in due course.


No comments