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Notice given 14 February 2013

*2849  Senator Cash: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship—With reference to the article printed in the Herald Sun on 27 November 2011, titled ‘Asylum seeker escapes’:

(1) Do asylum seekers account for ‘about a third’ of all escapes from immigration detention; if not, what is the correct proportion.

(2) Of the total number of escapees, what proportion do individuals on bridging visas and in community detention account for.

(3) Of the individuals who have been returned from community detention, or who have had their Bridging visa E revoked, how many either absconded or escaped.

(4) Who is tasked with locating missing asylum seekers and at what cost.

*2850  Senator Cash: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship—With reference to the article appearing in NT News on 24 January 2013, titled ‘Ripped off in detention’:

(1) Is the department aware of the theft of any goods from irregular maritime arrivals (IMAs) in detention; if so, what is the nature of this problem.

(2) Is the department aware of any threats, intimidation or violence being directed at detainees over goods and cash.

(3) Have police laid charges relating to such behaviour being directed at IMAs in detention centres.

 (4) What is the procedure for recording and storing detainees’ money and valuables when they enter detention.

(5) What is the value of goods and cash currently stored in each detention centre, or in the entire network.

*2851  Senator Cash: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship—

(1) With reference to The Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) Requirement (Recommendations 1 and 2) PDF brochure on the department’s website, dated March 2012, which discusses the planned Knight Review changes to the student visa program, and which specifically provides (at page 2) that, in applying the GTE test for Student visa applicants, the department’s case officers must decide ‘whether the applicant has sound reasons for not undertaking the study in the home country or region’ and must ‘allow for any reasonable motives’ in making this determination, and given that some experts have said that the GTE test gives ‘total discretion based on subjective criteria to case officers’ and is being applied in a ‘subjective and punitive way’:

(a) does the department intend to implement clearer guidelines for the exercise of discretion by case officers under the GTE test; and

(b) will the GTE test be modified to incorporate more objective criteria.

(2) With reference to the department’s document Post-Study Work Arrangements Recommendation  4 , which indicates that the Government’s post-study work visa arrangements are due to commence in ‘early 2013’, and that students can only apply for a post-study work visa if they applied for their first Student visa after 5 November 2011:

(a) can an exact commencement date be provided; and

(b) what is the rationale for the cut-off date of 5 November 2011.

(3) Why will the new post-study work visa arrangements not be linked to a skilled occupations list and not require skills assessment.

(4) Given that, according to the Review of the Assessment Level Framework , the department has still not finalised its recommendations for Student Visa Assessment Level Framework reforms, which were due to be provided in mid-2012, and that the matter was not on the agenda of the Council of Australian Governments meeting held in December 2012:

(a) when will the department deliver its recommendations for Student Visa Assessment Level Framework reforms; and

(b) what progress has been made by the department in finalising its recommendations since the 16 March 2012 deadline for the filing of submissions in response to the department’s discussion paper.

(5) Given that a recent study by the Australian Council for Educational Research, outlined in the 13 December 2012 media release New Data Confirms Dramatic Decline in Indian University Student Visas, ACER Research Briefing Notes, found that the number of higher education visas granted to Indian students fell by 71 per cent between 2007-08 and 2011-12, and that others have noted that success rates for applicants have fallen from 96 per cent in 2006-07 to 50 per cent in 2011-12 ( The Age , 14 December 2012, ‘Indian student numbers falling’):

(a) what is the reason for the downturn; and

(b) what mechanisms does the department have in place to reverse the decline.

*2852  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—With reference to Ms Shiree Power, who worked at The Lodge as a House Manager:

(1) For what period was Ms Power employed.

(2) In October 2010, did Ms Power damage her back while making a bed.

(3) Did she then work 3 days a week using painkillers.

(4) Two weeks after her accident, did the House Manager telephone Ms Power to terminate her employment.

(5) Was Ms Power told there was no further need for her position and that her termination was not due to her injuries.

(6) If Ms Power was not terminated because of her injuries, why was she terminated.

(7) Did the House Manager also tell Ms Power that her position needed to be full-time, and did Ms Power maintain she could work full-time.

(8) Was Ms Power’s position subsequently filled by someone else;

(9) Did anyone at The Lodge or the department: (a) encourage or ensure that Ms Power received proper medical attention following her accident; and (b) subsequently contact Ms Power to inquire about her recovery.

(10) Has Ms Power repeatedly requested another job.

(11) Has any position been offered to Ms Power.

(12) Was Ms Power informed that she could get no further financial compensation for her dismissal because she was a Members Of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 employee with a personal contract.