Migration Bill in committee

June 18, 2024

Tuesday 18 June 2024
Gabriella Vukman
Lilydale Star Mail

 Introduced by the government and passed in the House of Representatives on  March 26, the Migration Amendment (Removals and Other Measures) Bill 2024, is  currently going through a committee process.
 This Committee process entails dissecting the bill section by section,  suggesting amendments and voting on each individual clause.
 Upon its original introduction, the Bill proposed three amendments with the  aim of the first to encourage the cooperation of non-refugees and other  peoples who 'have no right to be in Australia' with their 'lawful removal  from Australia' should they not voluntarily choose to leave.
 Maintaining that "other countries should cooperate with Australia to  facilitate the lawful return of their citizens," the second section of  the bill is centred around diplomatic relations with other nations.
 Shadow Home Affairs Minister James Patterson said in an SBS interview,  "We recognise there is a public policy problem here." "When  there are people who are found not to be refugees who refuse to cooperate  with their own removal and that means they can languish in Australia for many  years longer than they should, then the government does need powers to deal  with that," Mr Patterson said.
 The final section of the bill offers the Minister for Immigration "a new  power to designate a country as a removal concern country." People from  these 'removal concern countries' will not be able to make new visa  applications so long as this 'removal concern' remains in place.
 The Bill suggests that countries that refuse "to accept returns of their  own citizens," will be designated as 'removal concern countries.'  Currently, Coalition and Labor Senators have made 19 recommendations to  improve the Government's Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill  2024, with the committee publishing 118 different submissions during the  inquiry.
 Casey MP Aaron Violi said "Labor has flagrantly disregarded the  submissions of multicultural communities and legal experts by failing to  address their legitimate concerns throughout the inquiry process."  "As a result, the Coalition has proposed a range of sensible  recommendations to put safeguards on the powers proposed by the bill,"  Violi said.
 Labor was contacted but did not provide a comment.
 Member of the Healesville group Regional Australians for Refugees and former  refugee Bob Rich said, "I was only a kid when I came and I was  accompanying my uncle but if this bill had been in action in Australia when I  came, we would no doubt have chosen another country." "If you  commit a crime you are sent to jail and that is the lawful process where  everybody understands what is going on. Here we have people sent to places  like Naru or New Guinea or imprisoned within Australia without being afforded  a trial and with no end in sight," Mr Rich said.
 "This Bill was rushed through with quite insufficient debate  allowed." The proposed bill's swift introduction is said to have been  intended to beat the High Court Ruling of Iranian man ASF17, who has been  detained in Australia after refusing to cooperate with his own deportation  back to Iran.
 Yarra Junction Local and former refugee Rahmat Ali Zadah said, "People  and Government might think refugees just want to arrive and have Centrelink,  or maybe they think that it's not safe for Australia to accept more refugees  but in my experience, the refugees I shared accommodation with, all wanted a  safe and happy life for them and their families." "The majority are  skilled people who want to work hard and contribute to Australia. If they are  accepted in Australia they are happy to adjust their life to fit in easily  here," Rahmat said.
 "I am working very hard and have now applied to be reunited with my  family who are living in Afghanistan where it is not safe for them.
 I have a wife and children who I have not seen in more than a decade. I hope  to have them safe and happy with me here in Australia." Titled as a  refugee and waiting in Indonesia for over a decade before becoming a  permanent resident of Australia, Rahmat maintains that his own personal  journey would not have been affected by this Bill.
 "My personal journey would not have been different as I waited in  refugee accommodation for more than 10 years and I arrived with a  humanitarian visa but these amendments will affect other refugees who are in  danger and deserve a life of protection in Australia unless they commit a  serious crime then they will get sent back," Rahmat said.
 "Also the refugees left in Indonesia respect the border rules and want  to arrive in Australia legally, however the government closed the access to  Australia." "The Government thinks refugees in Indonesia are in a  good condition, however more than 16 people committed suicide over the  duration of my stay there due to the situation they are in," Rahmat  said.
 Minister for Immigration Giles Scullin presented the bill and said "The  Migration Amendment (Removals and Other Measures) Bill 2024 will provide the  government with necessary tools to strengthen our immigration compliance  framework, including to better manage immigration detention."

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