Thursday, 16 August 2018
That the Senate:
(a) notes that the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants enables the United Nations General Assembly to work towards a global compact for migration, including an intergovernmental conference to occur later this year;
(b) further notes the comments attributed to the Minister for Home Affairs that Australia will not sign any migration compact in its current form, notwithstanding Australia's prior role in developing the agreement; and
(c) calls upon the Minister for Home Affairs, and other relevant ministers, to desist from taking any further steps towards Australia becoming a signatory to, or enacting, any elements of the global compact.
Australia's approach to the global compact is informed by our national experience and the coalition government's steadfast commitment to secure borders and integrity in our migration programs. Australia engaged constructively in the negotiations to develop a compact that would make migration safer, more regular and more orderly. As the government has stated, we will not sign up to anything that diminishes, undermines or limits our ability to keep Australians safe.
Labor will oppose this motion. Australia is a nation built on migration, and Labor recognises the significant benefits that many nations, including Australia, have gained from well-managed migration programs over decades. We understand the strains placed on global migration through the pressures of conflict and disadvantage. These pressures have seen the mass movement of people in the tens of millions across the globe, particularly through irregular means. Australia should play an active role in contributing to solutions to these challenges.
I suggest that Senator Bernardi actually read the compact, which explicitly states:
The Global Compact reaffirms the sovereign right of States to determine their national migration policy and their prerogative to govern migration within their jurisdiction, in conformity with international law.
Ultimately a decision on whether to agree to or become a party to international agreements is a matter for the government of the day. We would expect any such decision, where there would be significant national interest involved, to— (Time expired)