New backing for Australia's TPVs called shameful
TPV re-introduction by the Australian Government appals refugee agencies.
Refugee advocates in Australia are labelling new legislation that re-introduces temporary protection visas for people awarded refugee status as a shameful capitulation.
This comes after the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison struck a deal with the Palmer United Party.
Their planned changes also include safe haven visas but neither visa allows for permanent protection, nor for family reunion.
The Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul says it is a shock that Clive Palmer, who has previously sought to portray himself as a concerned family man, should now back Scott Morrison's cruel scheme.
IAN RINTOUL: It is far worse than what we had under the Howard Government. There will be created in Australian an underclass of people, who have been found to be refugees but under this law, under these changes they will never be entitled to be permanent residents or citizens.
DON WISEMAN: Yet Scott Morrison says it will allow stability and allow them to get on with their lives.
IR: Look that is just not true. Scott Morrison is looking for a fix. He has a fundamental problem at the moment because the High Court and the Parliament has prevented him from introducing temporary protection visas. What he has done in response is refuse to process 30,000 odd people who now, some of them have been in the community for almost two years. He's said he won't process them as long as he has to give permanent visas. So there really is no way that the temporary visas provide a way for people to get on with their lives. They will be permanently precluded from leaving Australia, they will be unable to get re-united with their families and there will be no permanent security for them. At the end of every 3 years or every five years they will be assessed again - so they are permanently vulnerable. And what I think is completely unforgivable is that there will be tens of thousands of families who are left in Iraq and Afghanistan, Syria and other places, completely destitute and vulnerable now because of the whim of the Australian government.
DW: Australia's a party to the Refugee Convention but this doesn't sit very well with that, does it?
IR: No it doesn't, and interestingly there is a clause being introduced along with the temporary visas that will remove references to the Refugee Convention from the Migration Act and they will insert in there a statutory interpretation so that the Migration Act will no longer refer to the Refugee Convention but simply to an Australian parliamentary interpretation of Australia's obligations. we're talking about very sweeping changes, not just the temporary protection visas. but Scott Morrison wants to change fundamentally the way in which international treaties and international obligations are going to established in Australian law. In fact he wants to remove the ability of the courts to consider Australia's international obligations to asylum seekers in Australia.
DW: It's just been introduced at this point. How likely is it to become law?
IR: Well it's become more likely than not. And it did seem with the Palmer United Party's opposition that it had no chance. They potentially give it three of the six votes that the government needs so there is a reasonable chance that this will eventually go into law. There still is a chance that the individual senators will reconsider when they see the scale of what Clive Palmer has negotiated for them. And some of the other backbenchers have indicated their concerns about the TPV so the scale of the changes which Morrison is proposing may well give other backbenchers serious cause to rethink any support for this legislation.
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