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Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Page: 8829


Senator NASH (New South WalesDeputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate and Minister for Rural Health) (18:29): I can indicate to the chamber that the government does not support these amendments. The amendments could potentially reduce the discretion of the department to pursue visa cancellation, infringements or take civil action should it be assessed as appropriate. This could occur in circumstances where, despite the whistleblower having volunteered information, their conduct was sufficiently repugnant that they should not be afforded protection. Noting that decisions about pursuing visa cancellation, infringements or taking civil penalty action are discretionary, the department will prescribe under policy that the intent of a person is relevant when consideration is given to whether to take action against them, and what form that action might take. Policy guidance for cancellation consideration already states that a person's individual circumstances should be taken into consideration.