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Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Page: 6507

Asylum Seekers


Senator CASH (Western Australia) (14:43): My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Carr. Can the minister advise why the government should be trusted with a blank cheque for its proposed changes to the Migration Act after its disastrous decision to abolish the Howard government's successful border protection policies, the failed Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum freeze, the failed East Timor solution and the failed Malaysia solution, which alone has resulted in 241 illegal boats arriving with 12,262 people onboard, including 100 boats and approximately 440 drownings on the current Prime Minister's watch?


Senator CARR (VictoriaMinister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) (14:44): I thank Senator Cash for her question. Temporary protection visas—she has made a great deal of these—did not stop boats arriving. Those on TPVs ended up with permanent visas. It is a pretty simple message: those on TPVs—

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Carr, resume your seat. When there is silence we will proceed.

Senator Brandis interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Brandis, I have just asked for silence.

Senator CARR: TPVs actually ended up with more women and more children on boats. TPVs were a dismal failure because people on TPVs ended up with a permanent visa. TPVs were introduced by the Howard government in October 1999. They said it was to defer boat arrivals. In fact, they did not stop the boat arrivals. There were 3,722 unauthorised boat arrivals in that year alone. During the next two financial years—

Senator Brandis interjecting

Senator CARR: Lord Brandis has asked me a question. He has asked me, 'How many people?' Well, 8,500 people—

Senator Cormann: Mr President, on a point of order: this is the second time that Senator Carr has referred to Senator Brandis not by his proper title, and I think you should call him to order.

The PRESIDENT: There is no point of order.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order, on both sides! If there was less noise in this chamber, Senator Cormann, it would be very helpful.

Senator Chris Evans: Mr President, he asked us to call him Lord Brandis.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Evans, that does not help the afternoon.

Senator Conroy: Have you seen his letterhead?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Conroy, that does not assist the continuation of question time.

Senator CARR: What I can tell Senator Cash is that more than 90 per cent of the 11,000 people who were granted temporary protection visas were granted a permanent visa to live in Australia. That would hardly fit into any category of deterrence. Ninety per cent of 11,000 people who got a TPV ended up—

Senator Conroy: How many—90?

Senator CARR: Ninety per cent. It would strike me by any description that that was not what the policy of those opposite set out to do. Ninety per cent of the 11,000 people who were so badly treated by the TPV program ended up with a permanent visa. Of the 9,043 who were granted a TPV, 8,600, or 95 per cent, were subsequently granted a permanent visa by the time TPVs were abolished. (Time expired)