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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 577

Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (10:44): The Migration Amendment (Character Cancellation Consequential Provisions) Bill 2016 is important legislation which I do support because it will strengthen our national security and it will be safer for Tasmanian families if this legislation passes the Senate. Therefore, I am happy to vote for it. That is not to say that it could not be improved. One of the main purposes of the Migration Amendment (Character Cancellation Consequential Provisions) Bill 2016 is to amend the Migration Act 1958 to, principally, amend the definition of a 'character concern' to be consistent with character tests in subsection 501(6) of the act. I agree with the government's proposal to, firstly, provide for mandatory cancellation of the visa of a person who was serving a prison sentence where the minister is satisfied that the person fails the character test as they have a substantial criminal record or have been found guilty of a sexually based offence involving a child; and, secondly, provide that a person does not pass the character test if there is a 'risk' rather than the previous 'significant risk' that they will pose a danger to the Australian community.

I ask the minister: who will be given additional or broadened powers under this legislation to refuse or cancel visas of people wanting to live or visit Australia and to give some thought as to whether those prospective visitors share our democratic beliefs and respect the liberties and human rights which automatically come with our love for a democratic system of government? A prospective visitor or immigrant's attitude to our system of democratic life in Australia should always be taken into account when our immigration minister makes a decision whether to ban a visitor or stop an immigrant from becoming a permanent Australian citizen. After all, our oath of allegiance states that, as an Australian citizen, 'I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share'. If immigrants and prospective citizens do not share our democratic beliefs then it should automatically disqualify them from becoming citizens. That should be no questions asked. If you want to visit Australia and you do not share our democratic beliefs, that should at least ensure our immigration minister has a second look at them and their visa application, asking who they are loyal to and why they do not like democracies. This is the vetting that should be done.

If the answer is that they are loyal to people and organisations that are at war with Australia, our allies, our soldiers, our seamen and our airmen then that person should not be allowed into our country. That is why I believe Donald Trump is on the right track following his temporary ban on people from countries where sharia law is part of that nation's culture. A country which allows sharia law to be practised and enforced obviously does not share our democratic values or respect basic human rights for women, gay people, teenagers, young girls and all Jewish people. Support for sharia law is a clear sign of Islamic radicalisation and support for Australia's enemies, so I ask that the immigration minister consider a better screening process for Australia with regard to those who support sharia law. Why is the question not even asked?

On the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, written into the cement are the words of the oath of allegiance to Australia. I have thought a lot about these words—since I have been in parliament, more so. As an Australian citizen, I affirm my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share. The oath continues, but, for the moment, I would like to talk about this simple but very profound beginning, which I believe has great meaning with regard to this legislation.

It is a sad fact that many people living in Australia, enjoying the safety, benefits and lifestyle of living in a first-world country, are disloyal to Australia and its people. Many people have divided or split loyalties with other countries, as witnessed by dual citizenships or support for Australian enemies. Our Constitution recognises the inherent danger to Australia from people living here who have split or divided loyalties and officially discriminates against those people by stopping them from standing for elected positions in this parliament. The precedent has already been set. Many of those people do not share our democratic beliefs and do not appreciate the sacrifices that previous generations of Australians made to keep our nation free and democratic.

People who support the imposition of sharia law in Australia or any other country obviously do not share our beliefs in democracy or in our rights and liberties. How could someone who thinks it is okay to kill someone simply because they are gay or Jewish share our democratic beliefs? How could someone who thinks it is okay for women to be treated like possessions of men and like second- or third-class citizens share Australian democratic beliefs? Sharia law is not Australian law. Terrorists want to force it on the rest of the world; that has been made quite clear. It is antidemocratic. Show me a successful democracy in the Middle East that imposes the death penalty on gay people for being gay, imposes the death penalty on women who are unfaithful to their husband and denies the right of the Jewish people to live in peace in Israel. Accepting the supposedly good bits of sharia law gives legitimacy to the bad bits of sharia law. That is rubbish. Sharia law is an antidemocratic cancer that does not belong in a free society and fails to respect the human rights of women, gays and Jews.

All I am asking is that we screen people for their support for sharia law. If they support sharia law and want it in Australia do not let them in—that would be your first mistake. Such people are obviously supporters of the terrorists, their law and their culture.

In closing, I take this opportunity to support Senator Bernardi's call to halve our overall immigration rate, and also to remind people that I want our foreign aid halved. I have one question for the minister, which I would liked answered: how many of the 190 people that ASIO is currently watching—I am going through older statistics here—have had their dual citizenship cancelled, or at least vetted?