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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6469

Mr McCLELLAND (Attorney-General) (6:24 PM) —In terms of those pull factors referred to by the honourable member, I have noted a reference to the 45-day rule in a parliamentary committee. The honourable member, with respect, expressed support for modifying that rule, which has occurred.

Dr Stone —No, you’ve got that wrong.

Mr McCLELLAND —I have the shadow minister saying:

I also share Dana’s concerns about the employment situation, because a lot of the people on bridging visas who have health costs, in particular, are in a great deal of strife when it comes to being able to manage their own affairs. What are you doing about access to Medicare for health costs for people on bridging visas?

.          .          .          .

Evidence has been found from both NGOs and from the people on bridging visas themselves, and of course, we do not have any ability to work out what numbers we are talking about there quite often, but it has been a great financial distress, and the NGOs are saying, ‘We can’t continue’.

Essentially what is proposed is that the 45-day rule be removed and replaced with a tiered response, depending on whether an asylum seeker has taken steps to resolve their status while still lawful. In terms of the non-refoulement obligation, it does nothing more and nothing less than honour our obligations under our international non-refoulement obligations. I ask the honourable member what she would say to a little girl at risk of female genital mutilation being returned to a country because she did not meet the asylum-seeker criteria. I ask the honourable member to talk about what she would say about a woman being the subject of the possibility of an honour killing due to her not meeting the technical requirements of the protection visa. In terms of the temporary protection visa, I have referred to the fact that on its facts it simply was not demonstrated.

I thought I should address those matters, but I should also indicate that in addition to talking about additional resources for maritime and aerial surveillance there has been a substantial amount of money for intelligence capability and intelligence capability building, for law enforcement capability and capability building, for legal capability building and for prosecution capability building for people literally on the ground. They are already on the ground and, we would submit, having effect.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Attorney-General’s Portfolio

Proposed expenditure, $4,134,810,000