Senate debates

Monday, 11 November 2019

Regulations and Determinations

Migration (Fast Track Applicant Class – Temporary Protection and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas) Instrument 2019; Disallowance

4:57 pm

Photo of Murray WattMurray Watt (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Northern Australia) Share this | Hansard source

I rise in support of Senator McKim's disallowance motion. Labor supports Operation Sovereign Borders. This means boat turnbacks where it is safe to do so, regional resettlement and offshore processing. But Labor believe that we can be strong on borders without losing our humanity. The instrument we seek to disallow today will make no contribution to strong borders. What this instrument does is push people who have already been found to be refugees, through Australia's standard refugee status determination process, and who are on temporary protection visas into the Morrison government's so-called fast-track process.

The fast-track process was first introduced by the Abbott government in 2013 in an attempt to more quickly process refugee applications, primarily of asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat between 13 August 2012 and 31 December 2013. Through this instrument, as the visas of TPV and SHEV holders expire, rather than having their TPV or SHEV extended through the existing processes a refugee will instead be forced through this fast-track process. Labor's consistent position has been that this so-called fast-track process is neither fast nor fair. This process prevents vulnerable refugees from accessing independent reviews and instead forces them to rely on a paper based review by the Immigration Assessment Authority, which is little more than a rubber stamp for the decisions of the Department of Home Affairs.

We know that Peter Dutton's home affairs department is racked with tired and overworked officials who don't have the resources they need to do their jobs.

Home Affairs was recently ranked last of all 97 Australian Public Service agencies for staff engagement, with one in three departmental officials wanting to quit and more than half of the department believing they don't have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs. In this kind of poisonous atmosphere, how can we expect Home Affairs officials, who are making so-called fast-track decisions, to get it right every single time? But this is what Minister Dutton and Minister Coleman are asking us to believe. Under the Dutton-Coleman fast-track review, refugees have little chance of mistakes by Home Affairs officials ever being corrected.

In fact, we know that this legislation has nothing to do with Operation Sovereign Borders. Instead, this instrument is yet another misstep by this tired and apathetic third-term government, and another instance of Peter Dutton's incompetent management of the Department of Home Affairs.


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