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Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Page: 9738


Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (17:49): I take great pleasure in stating that the Xenophon party, or NXT, have thought about this matter extensively, and we very much will be supporting this disallowance. We believe the regulations contain elements which are ambiguous and have well and truly gone too far. For instance, the regulations introduce a new clause, condition 8303, which in part prohibits a temporary or bridging visa holder from becoming involved in activities 'disruptive to the Australian community or a group within the Australian community'.

We have no issue with protecting the community, but booting a visa holder out for being disruptive is a step too far. What does the government mean by 'disruptive'? It is not defined, so we can't say. Does it mean that they can't engage in their democratic right to protest? If they make a scene in a hospital or at a post office, is their visa cancelled? Refugee advocates have raised concerns that people caught up by condition 8303 can be detained indefinitely from the moment an accusation against the visa holder is made until the matter is resolved. That is a denial of due process and, again, goes beyond what a fair-minded person would think is reasonable.

The regulations also seek to amend public interest criterion 4020, which allows the minister to refuse or cancel a visa if an applicant provides a fake document or misleading information to support their application. It affects applicants for skilled migration visas, business visas, temporary visas, student visas and family visas. Currently, this condition relating to a visa that the applicant held in the 12 months before the application was made; the government now wants to make this 10 years, which is excessively punitive, particularly for minor infractions.

These are just some of the concerns which have been raised with us, and we believe they warrant the government well and truly going back to the drawing board on these regulations.