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21    Australia’s visa processing system

Senator Urquhart, also on behalf of Senators Brown and Bilyk, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 76—That the Senate—

               (a)       notes that:

                                     (i)       the Morrison Government plans to privatise Australia’s visa processing system threatens 100 jobs in Tasmania,

                                    (ii)       under the Liberals’ plan, private providers will be given licence to run Australia’s visa system as a for-profit business,

                                  (iii)       the Liberals’ unfair plan could also lead to the loss of around 2000 jobs Australia-wide,

                                  (iv)       there could be increased visa fraud, cuts to services, and data security risks if the services are privatised,

                                   (v)       Australians do not want to see our visa system privatised, and they especially do not want to see people lose their jobs,

                                  (vi)       under the Liberals, there have been thousands of full time jobs lost across Tasmania in just the last year,

                                (vii)       the Department of Home Affairs last year outsourced 250 departmental call centre jobs to the New Zealand company Datacom, while the Department of Human Services outsourced 250 Centrelink jobs to Serco,

                               (viii)       visa processing times have blown out under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government,

                                  (ix)       partner visas are at record-high processing times of up to 28 months,

                                   (x)       the number of people on bridging visas in Australia - waiting for the Department of Home Affairs to process their applications - has blown out to over 229,000 people, and

                                  (xi)       the Home Affairs Minister, Mr Peter Dutton, and the Liberals, appear determined to outsource and sell off parts of Australia’s immigration system to the highest possible bidder; and

               (b)       calls on the Federal Government to protect the integrity of Australia’s visa processing system, and stop its plan to privatise Australia’s visa system.

Statement by leave : The Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries (Senator Duniam), by leave, made a statement relating to the motion.

Question put.

The Senate divided—

AYES, 33

Senators—

Ayres

Green

McKim

Smith, Marielle

Bilyk

Griff

O’Neill

Steele-John

Brown

Hanson

Patrick

Sterle

Chisholm

Hanson-Young

Pratt

Urquhart*

Ciccone

Keneally

Rice

Walsh

Di Natale

Kitching

Roberts

Waters

Faruqi

Lambie

Sheldon

Watt

Gallacher

McAllister

Siewert

Whish-Wilson

Gallagher

 

 

 

NOES, 29

Senators—

Abetz

Colbeck

McDonald

Ryan

Antic

Cormann

McGrath

Scarr

Askew

Davey

McMahon

Seselja

Bragg

Duniam

Paterson

Sinodinos

Brockman

Fawcett

Rennick

Smith, Dean*

Canavan

Fierravanti-Wells

Reynolds

Stoker

Cash

Hughes

Ruston

Van

Chandler

 

* Tellers

Question agreed to.