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Migration Legislation Amendment (Further Border Protection Measures) Bill 2002 [No. 2]

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2002 - 2003

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIGRATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT

(FURTHER BORDER PROTECTION MEASURES) BILL 2002

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs,

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP)

 

 



MIGRATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (FURTHER BORDER PROTECTION MEASURES) BILL 2002

 

OUTLINE

 

1.                   The Migration Legislation Amendment (Further Border Protection Measures) Bill 2002 (“the Bill”) amends the Migration Act 1958 (“the Migration Act”) to expand the definition of “excised offshore place” to include:

 

·          the Coral Sea Islands Territory; and

·          certain islands that form part of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory

 

2.                   The Bill will insert these places into the definition of “excised offshore place” in the Migration Act.

 

3.                   The definition of “excised offshore place” was inserted into the Migration Act, and other amendments were made to the Migration Act, by the Migration Legislation (Excision from Migration Zone) Act 2001 (Act No. 127 of 2001), which received the Royal Assent and also commenced on 27 September 2001.  The amendments had the effect of preventing a non-citizen who enters Australia at a place described in the definition of “excised offshore place” after the relevant “excision time” without a visa from making a valid visa application unless the Minister determines that it is in the public interest that such a person should be able to make a valid visa application.

 

4.                   The Migration Legislation (Excision from Migration Zone) Act 2001 was part of a package of Acts including the Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) (Consequential Provisions) Act 2001 and the Border Protection (Validation and Enforcement Powers) Act 2001 , which introduced enhancements to Australia’s border protection laws.

 

5.                   This Bill was originally introduced and passed by the House of Representatives on 20 June 2002.  The Senate rejected the Bill on 9 December 2002.

 

6.                   The Bill is being reintroduced to demonstrate the Government’s commitment to the protection of Australia’s borders.

 

7.                   The Bill was originally introduced in response to indications that people smugglers were changing the focus of their operations to target islands closer to the Australian mainland.  This potential still exists.  The Government believes that the measures contained in this Bill to combat these threats and extend the bar on visa applications by persons who arrive without lawful authority at these offshore islands is still necessary.

 

8.                   Australian citizens and other persons with lawful authority under the Migration Act to be in Australia will continue to be able to move about freely in these areas and make any applications permitted by the Migration Act. These amendments do not affect Australia’s sovereignty over those islands. The islands remain integral parts of Australia.

 

9.                   In particular, in respect of the Torres Strait Islands, the Migration Act currently allows inhabitants of the Protected Zone (as established by the Torres Strait Treaty) to move about freely in connection with the performance of their traditional activities.  The traditional inhabitants of the Torres Strait will not be affected by the inclusion of the Torres Strait Islands in the definition of “excised offshore place” in the Bill.

 

10.               The Commonwealth will continue to ensure that, while unauthorised arrivals at “excised offshore places” cannot apply for visas, appropriate arrangements will ensure that Australia continues to fulfil its obligations under the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and under other relevant international instruments.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

11.               These amendments will have minimal financial impact.



MIGRATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (FURTHER BORDER PROTECTION MEASURES) BILL 2002

 

NOTES ON INDIVIDUAL CLAUSES

 

Clause 1             Short title

 

1.                   The short title by which this Act may be cited is the Migration Legislation Amendment (Further Border Protection Measures) Act 2002 .

 

Clause 2             Commencement

 

2.                   This clause provides that this Act commences on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3            Schedule(s)

 

3.                   This clause provides that each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned.  In addition, any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

 

Clause 4          Application of section 46A of the Migration Act

 

4.                   This clause provides that section 46A of the Migration Act 1958 applies to a visa application made by an offshore entry person after the excision time for the excised offshore place concerned.

 

5.                   This means that if a person becomes an offshore entry person by entering an “excised offshore place” at any time after 2pm on 19 June 2002 by legal time in the Australian Capital Territory, any visa application by the person will not be a valid application due to the operation of section 46A.

 

6.                   For example, if a person becomes an offshore entry person by entering Australia at the Coral Sea Islands Territory, then the amendments apply to any visa application made by the person after 2pm on 19 June 2002 by legal time in the Australian Capital Territory.



SCHEDULE 1 - Amendments of Migration Act 1958

 

Item 1               Subsection 5(1) (after paragraph (c) of the definition of excised offshore place )

 

7.                   This item inserts new paragraphs (ca), (cb), (cc) and (cd) after paragraph (c) into the definition of “excised offshore place” in subsection 5(1) of the Migration Act.

 

8.                   “Excised offshore place” is further defined to mean:

 

·          the Coral Sea Islands Territory;

·          all islands that form part of Queensland and are north of latitude 12 ° south;

·          all islands that form part of Western Australia and are north of latitude 23 ° South;

·          all islands that form part of the Northern Territory and are north of latitude 16 ° south.

 

9.                   This is done for the purposes of limiting the ability of a person, who enters Australia without a visa at an “excised offshore place” after the “excision time” for that offshore place, to make a valid visa application. It does not affect the application of other provisions in the Migration Act to such a person.

 

Item 2               Subsection 5(1) (after paragraph (c) of the definition of excision time )

 

10.               This item inserts new paragraphs (ca), (cb), (cc) and (cd) after paragraph (c) into the definition of “excision time” in subsection 5(1) of the Migration Act.

 

11.               “Excision time” is further defined to mean:

 

·          for the Coral Sea Islands Territory - 2pm on the 19 June 2002 by legal time in the Australian Capital Territory;

·          for all islands that form part of Queensland and are north of latitude 12 ° south - 2pm on the 19 June 2002 by legal time in the Australian Capital Territory;

·          for all islands that form part of Western Australia and are north of latitude 23 ° South - 2pm on the 19 June 2002 by legal time in the Australian Capital Territory;

·          for all islands that form part of the Northern Territory and are north of latitude 16 ° south - 2pm on the 19 June 2002 by legal time in the Australian Capital Territory.