Thursday, 28 February 2013
Migration Amendment (Reinstatement of Temporary Protection Visas) Bill 2013 [No. 2]; Second Reading
That this bill be now read a second time.
I seek leave to table an explanatory memorandum relating to the bill.
I table an explanatory memorandum and seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.
The speech read as follows—
The purpose of this bill is to restore two classes of Temporary Protection Visas (subclasses 785 and 447) that were available under the former Coalition Government for those who arrive illegally in Australia or at an excised offshore place and are found to engage Australia's protection obligations under the Refugee Convention.
This bill is entirely consistent with the Coalition's long held position of providing temporary protection visas for those who arrive illegally by boat as part of a comprehensive suite of measures to stop the boats.
The Temporary Protection (Offshore Entry) Visa (subclass 785) is a visa for people who:
The visa is temporary for a term of up to three years, to be set by the Minister or his/her delegate. The visa gives the holder the right to work, to Special Benefits payments and access to Medicare.
Successive temporary visas can be applied for upon conclusion of the term of the visa unless the Minister allows an application for a permanent protection visa to be made.
The Temporary Protection (Secondary Movement Offshore Entry) Visa (subclass 447) is a visa for people who:
The visa is temporary for a term of up to three years, to be set by the Minister or his/her delegate. The bill defines a secondary movement person as someone who is a non-citizen seeking protection having moved beyond their country of first asylum and who transited in a country other than Australia where the person could have sought protection;
A secondary movement person cannot be granted a permanent Protection Visa. Such a person may only apply for a further temporary protection visa, or if eligible, one of the mainstream visas for which temporary protection visa holders are eligible.
The visa gives the holder the right to work, to Special Benefits payments and access to Medicare.
Temporary protection visas deny access to permanent residence and family reunion. Once a visa has expired, an applicant's refugee status would be reassessed and they would either return home if it was safe to do so or be reissued with another temporary visa. Temporary protection visas fulfill Australia's responsibilities under the Refugee Convention by providing safe haven for those who are found to have a legitimate claim to refugee status but have entered Australia illegally without a valid visa. There is no obligation under international law to provide permanent residence.
This bill effectively reverses the decision of the Rudd/Gillard Government in 2008 to abolish Temporary Protection Visas that started the chaos, cost and tragedy on our borders and has led to more than 33,300 arrivals of people by boat, more than 1,000 deaths at sea, more than 8,100 permanent protection visas being denied to people who applied for a humanitarian offshore visa because they did not come on a boat and a budget blowout for taxpayers of $6.6 billion.
I commend the bill to the Senate.
I seek leave to continue my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.