Monday, 2 December 2019
Department of Home Affairs
At the request of Senators Lines, Sterle, Dodson and Pratt, I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(ii) this is crucial work that ensures the integrity of our visa processing system and is the cornerstone of our sovereignty as a nation,
(iii) the Federal Government's plan to privatise Australia's visa system threatens the livelihoods of over 135 Western Australians and their families, and
(iv) privatising Australia's visa system will lead to increased costs of visas, greater risks of worker exploitation, data security breaches and will make protecting national security more difficult;
(b) condemns the Federal Government for auctioning Australian jobs off to the highest bidder, and for undermining the integrity of our visa processing system and our nation's sovereignty; and
(c) calls on the Federal Government to guarantee the protection of these 136 jobs in Western Australia, and the 2000 jobs across Australia, which will be lost under the Morrison Government if they persist with their efforts to privatise Australia's visa system.
In addition to this motion, there is another motion almost identical on the Notice Paper for today, and this statement will apply to both of them, as it has with previous motions of this nature. The government is not privatising visa decision-making. The Department of Home Affairs is conducting a tender process for a new workflow tool that will support digital visa applications and decision-making. This modernisation process is necessary due to the continued exponential growth in visa applications. These reforms are needed to reduce processing times and to support high-quality visa decision-making. This will ensure we can effectively manage national security threats at the border and support key export industries, like tourism.
The provider of the workflow tool will have no role whatsoever in visa decision-making, and this process is not being driven by a desire to reduce departmental staffing or to cut costs. Claims that this process will lead to wholesale job losses and office closures are simply false.
Question agreed to.