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Monday, 26 February 2007
Page: 4


Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Minister for Human Services) (12:49 PM) —by leave—I move government amendments (1) to (9) together:

(1)    Clause 19B, page 21 (line 18), omit “(7)”, substitute “(7A)”.

(2)    Clause 19D, page 24 (line 5), before “has been”, insert “subject to subsection (7A),”.

(3)    Clause 19D, page 24 (after line 20), after subclause (7), insert:

      (7A)    The Minister may decide that subparagraph (6)(a)(ii) does not apply in relation to a person if, taking into account the circumstances that resulted in the person’s conviction, the Minister is satisfied that it would be unreasonable for that subparagraph to apply in relation to the person.

(4)    Clause 19G, page 26 (line 4), omit “(4B)”, substitute “(4C)”.

(5)    Clause 24, page 34 (line 17), before “has been”, insert “subject to subsection (4C),”.

(6)    Clause 24, page 34 (after line 32), after subclause (4B), insert:

       (4C)    The Minister may decide that subparagraph (4A)(a)(ii) does not apply in relation to a person if, taking into account the circumstances that resulted in the person’s conviction, the Minister is satisfied that it would be unreasonable for that subparagraph to apply in relation to the person.

(7)    Clause 28A, page 41 (line 10), omit “(6)”, substitute “(7)”.

(8)    Clause 30, page 43 (line 19), before “has been”, insert “subject to subsection (7),”.

(9)    Clause 30, page 43 (after line 34), at the end of the clause, add:

         (7)    The Minister may decide that subparagraph (5)(a)(ii) does not apply in relation to a person if, taking into account the circumstances that resulted in the person’s conviction, the Minister is satisfied that it would be unreasonable for that subparagraph to apply in relation to the person.

There are some tabling notes on the amendments to the bill, which I now table and which summarise the amendments. This might benefit Democrat and Green senators, who also have some amendments to move. The amendments effectively change the wording of the current bill, which would require the minister to refuse a citizenship application from a stateless person born in Australia who has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of at least five years. The gist of the amendments is that they will now provide for a discretion to refuse—putting a discretion in the hands of the minister, as opposed to a mandated requirement that the minister shall refuse. The amendments recognise that there may be cases where the operation of a mandatory refusal provision would not be reasonable because of the particular circumstances resulting in a person’s conviction. So they create a bit of leeway for the minister to look at the circumstances and some flexibility to take those into account.

I table a supplementary explanatory memorandum and a replacement explanatory memorandum which relate to the government amendments moved to this bill. They go into more detail than I have done.