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Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Page: 8837


Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (19:03): I would like to follow through on some of the remarks that have just been made. It deeply concerns me that we are being asked to take this government on trust when it comes to such profound questions. If we had a record we could rely upon on the issue of trust it might be a different question, but this is a government that has made secrecy and the ability to hide the truth a hallmark of the way these programs have been administered. So I would ask the minister a pretty simple question, because I am particularly concerned by what the explanatory memorandum actually says when we talk about trust. I ask the minister to explain how ministerial discretion is going to be used on the issue of cancellation of visas? Page 6 of the explanatory memorandum says:

The visa cancellation ground is discretionary and requires consideration to be given to a range of factors such as the person's complicity in the 'payment for visas' arrangement, strength of ties to Australia and contribution to the Australian community, in considering whether or not to cancel the visa.

We have a situation here where a person may well be subject to slavery, trafficking, gross exploitation, demands for sexual services in return for employment, or a whole range of offences which we know exist and are quite widely reported. But we are asked to take the government on trust when it comes to consideration of these matters. So I ask the minister: can you explain what those words mean—in regard to the explanatory memorandum—and will this include, in discretion—

Senator Xenophon: What paragraph is that?

Senator KIM CARR: This is in paragraph 18 on page 6 of the explanatory memorandum. I have quoted from the second half of that paragraph. There might be a student who has recently arrived and has been caught up in a visa scam of this type, or there might be a 457 visa holder from the subcontinent or from the horn of Africa, where we have seen entire meatworks boning rooms populated by people on 457 visas, straight off the plane, claiming to be responding to a skills shortage, grossly underpaid and under the threat of immediate deportation if they complain, let alone report an abusive employer. I come back to the proposition, Minister. Can you please tell us what those words mean?