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Thursday, 16 August 2012
Page: 5655

Senator MILNE (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (19:12): Minister, that does go to the heart of the issue of the advantage and disadvantage test if you excise the whole of the mainland. The whole point of that, as I understand it, is to make sure that, if someone arrives on a boat on the mainland as opposed to Christmas Island, they would then be subject to this legislation. But, by the same definition, I would have assumed that a person who flew in without a visa and therefore stepped onto the Australian mainland, excised under the law, would then be required to go into detention. If not, once again the advantage is to people who fly. If you want to save lives at sea, you had better start thinking about the most effective way to do that and reconsider your advantage and disadvantage test when it comes to whether people arrive by sea or by air.

But I want to go to this question. You said that the government will not say what indefinite detention is because the advantage and disadvantage test means that you have to work out the sort of average, across the region, of the length of time people have to wait before they are resettled. My colleague pointed out that for Malaysia that would be something like 76 years; for other places it may be less. I want to know from the minister: what is the process for determining that? You tell us that you cannot limit it in the way we are suggesting—that is, that the absolute maximum be one year. You are saying that it will be somehow worked out so that there is no advantage to anybody across the region. It will be an advantage to anyone across the region if it is less than 76 years, so I want to know what the process is for the government to determine before they send a single person to Nauru or Manus Island, and how we will all be informed, what the designated no-advantage period of time is?