Senate debates

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


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

7:11 pm

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

It is a civil and courteous relationship. We have our disagreements, as I have had tonight with the government. I understand that the minister has the discretion not to cancel the visa of an individual who provided or received a benefit in exchange for a sponsorship in terms of coercion or was a victim of human trafficking or slavery. What I am concerned about is in respect of the explanatory memorandum at clause 18 on page 6. It refers to circumstances as to the cancellation ground being discretionary. I am concerned that the wording in the explanatory memorandum—which, of course, is an aid to statutory interpretation—is such that it may be quite narrow in the circumstances where a person may not have a long link or contribution to the Australian community but they have been the subject of out-and-out coercion or a scam or human trafficking. That is a genuine concern. I do not raise this to be difficult; I raise it because I think that Senator Carr, in his amendment, raises some genuine concerns about circumstances where it seems unclear as to how the department will facilitate visa holders coming forward to report that they are victims if there is no guarantee that their visa will not be cancelled or, at the very least, that there is a guarantee that they will be dealt with fairly and reasonably. Obviously there might be some people who allege coercion where there is not a reasonable basis for that allegation. I understand that. But how do you have a fair framework so that, if it is a reasonable allegation, there is some protection for those people who have made those allegations of coercion, human trafficking or slavery?


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