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Thursday, 16 August 2012
Page: 5678


Senator LUNDY (Australian Capital TerritoryMinister Assisting for Industry and Innovation, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Sport) (21:13): Again I am compelled to refute the premise of the question that Senator Hanson-Young has put to the government. The government is confident that the protections are in place. By accepting the recommendations of the Houston report both in the spirit and as it is represented in this piece of legislation, we believe we satisfy both the spirit and the letter of those recommendations. I remind senators that this is part of a holistic approach to the challenge of orderly migration in our region and this legislation forms a part of that.

The final point I would like to make is again, contrary to assertions made by Greens senators, that in fact the rigorous nature of scrutiny afforded by the parliamentary processes already, through Senate estimates and through the chamber itself, as well as the additional scrutiny that will be levelled at the agreements with designated countries, will provide an unprecedented level of scrutiny and accountability and I think will satisfy the assurances the Greens are seeking with their proposed review, which we have not supported. It will not come as any surprise to my Senate colleagues that we will also not be supporting the attempt to have the bill cease to be effective from 16 August 2014.

I think we are at the point in the debate where the Greens, with due respect, continue to make their political point by moving this final amendment. However, in practical effect, this amendment would completely sabotage the operation of the framework we are constructing to provide an effective disincentive to the people-smuggling trade. In fact it borders on absurdity in that you can envisage, with such a clause in place, that people smugglers would spend the next two years compiling their passenger lists for when the bill ceased to be in effect. So we will not be supporting this amendment.