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Thursday, 13 February 2003
Page: 11780

Debate resumed from 5 December, on motion by Mr Ruddock:

That this bill be now read a second time.

upon which Ms Gillard moved by way of amendment:

That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: “whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading, the House:

(1) notes that:

(a) the Howard Government slashed the number of visas available for parents seeking to migrate to Australia to join their families to 500 in 1998;

(b) through this savage cut in visa numbers, the Howard Government has deliberately created a queue of over 20,000 parents seeking to migrate;

(c) the deliberate creation of this queue has caused stress and suffering for the families involved;

(d) having created this crisis, the Howard Government's only answer is a new visa class which requires the payment of a $25,000 fee which will be beyond the means of many; and

(e) while Labor has historically supported sponsoring families making a contribution to the health and welfare costs associated with the migration of parents, the system needs to be equitable and not cause undue hardship; and therefore

(2) calls on the Government immediately to introduce a fair system of parent visas, which will stop families in the current queue suffering additional stress and hardship and will meet Australia's needs into the future”.