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Monday, 12 November 2018
Page: 7733

Immigration Detention


Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (14:53): My question is for the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Senator Payne. Minister, I refer to this email from the Nauru consulate in Brisbane which says in relation to my application for a visa to visit Nauru: 'The senator's request to visit Nauru does not have the support of the Australian DFAT office; therefore, the Nauru government is unable to support the senator's visa request at this time.' Minister, why did your department not support my visa application for Nauru?


Senator PAYNE (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:54): As I understand the circumstances, that is not a correct interpretation of the circumstances and the government did not express that view.

The PRESIDENT: Senator McKim, a supplementary question.



Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (14:54): I'd remind the minister that this is in black and white—an email from the Nauruan consulate in Brisbane. Minister, did your department raise with you at any stage the issue of my visa application? If so, what was your response and did you discuss this issue with any other minister?


Senator PAYNE (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:55): No.

The PRESIDENT: Senator McKim, a final supplementary question.



Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (14:55): Minister, are you accusing the Nauruan government of lying in this email to me? This email is to the people who sought my visa, which was provided to me by those people. It made it very clear that the reason they did not support my visa request was because—and I quote from the email, which I will seek to table later today—'the Senator's request to visit Nauru does not have the support of the Australian DFAT office'.


Senator PAYNE (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:55): Perhaps Senator McKim lives in a world of lies and deceptions, but that is not the case on this side of the parliament. Occasionally there is material which Senator McKim has put on the record which is not correct, which is the circumstance here. As you know, Senator, decisions on visa entry to Nauru are made by the government of Nauru. Neither the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade nor the Australian High Commission in Nauru made any recommendation to the government of Nauru in relation to Senator McKim's visa application. The International Parliamentary Relations Office of this parliament is responsible for facilitating visa applications for Australian parliamentarians through standard visa channels. The Australian High Commission in Nauru only sponsors visa applications of Australian officials, parliamentarians and ministers when they are travelling on official Australian government visits. There is no indication whatsoever that anybody is lying in this context, Senator McKim; I am simply setting out the facts.