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Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Page: 260

Senator McLUCAS (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing) (12:43 PM) —I thank senators for their contributions to the second reading debate on the Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2008 [2009]. I note that Senator Hanson-Young has asked a number of specific questions. Given that we will not conclude the debate before 1.45 pm, I assure Senator Hanson-Young that we will endeavour to get good answers to those legitimate questions.

The Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2008 [2009] amends the Migration Act 1958 to clarify and enhance provisions relating to merits and judicial review of migration decisions. The bill contains three sets of amendments. The first set of amendments clarifies that when the Migration Review Tribunal or the Refugee Review Tribunal seek information from review applicants or third parties they may do so either orally or by written invitation. The amendments seek to address a series of recent judicial decisions which held that the tribunals may seek additional information only by written invitation. By allowing the tribunals to also seek information orally, the amendments seek to overcome problems where the only available means to communicate with a person is orally—for example, where only a telephone number is provided to the tribunals—or where it is appropriate to seek information orally rather than in writing.

Debate interrupted.