The government has acted swiftly to ensure that none of the 33 000 people who arrived in Australia illegally by boat under Labor’s watch and were yet to be processed will be granted a permanent visa, despite the Greens and Labor disallowing temporary protection visas, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today.
‘Unlike Labor and the Greens, the Coalition will never act to honour the promise of a people smuggler by providing their customers with permanent visas in Australia,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘After Labor and the Greens voted to disallow temporary protection visas on Monday evening, in defiance of the mandate for this measure from the Australian people, I used my powers under Section 85 of the Migration Act to immediately cap the number of onshore permanent protection visas available to be granted in 2013/14 at the 1650 issued prior to the swearing in of the Abbott Government.
‘The government’s actions mean that no further permanent protection visas can be granted to any onshore applicants this financial year, thereby denying permanent residence to any of the 33 000 people onshore in Australia who arrived illegally by boat on Labor’s watch, and honouring our promise to the Australian people.
‘This government has acted to shut Labor’s shop on permanent visas for illegal boat arrivals and no amount of grandstanding by Labor and the Greens will prise it open again.
‘Illegal boat arrivals in Labor’s legacy caseload will either remain in detention or on bridging visas which deny access to work rights and limit recipients to receiving 89 per cent of any relevant benefits.
‘Temporary protection visas enable visa holders to work while bridging visas do not and TPV holders receive 100 per cent of any relevant benefits.
‘Thanks to Labor and the Greens, illegal boat arrivals found to be refugees will now receive less rights than if they were on a temporary protection visa. This situation will remain until temporary protection visas are restored.
‘In addition I will be using my powers under Section 46(A) of the Migration Act to prevent anyone who had arrived illegally by boat to make applications for a permanent protection visa. This bar will remain in effect until such time temporary protection visas are able to be granted to boat arrivals.
‘These measures will have no impact on those granted protection through the government’s offshore refugee and humanitarian programme. Protection visas for offshore applicants, waiting in camps and other such places, will continue to be issued as normal. The Coalition has long advocated a fair and orderly immigration programme and it is important that people who come the right way have continued access to this programme.
‘Labor and the Greens’ theatrics in the Parliament have not served to restore permanent visas for people who have come to Australia illegally by boat.
‘In 2008, Labor and the Greens got what they wanted on border protection resulting in unprecedented cost, chaos and tragedy on our borders. The Coalition will not make Labor’s mistakes.
‘The government will stand up to any challenge that comes our way on illegal boat arrivals, be that from people smugglers or Labor and the Greens.
‘Temporary protection visas remain a key component of the government’s policies and we will be taking further action in the weeks and months ahead to implement this important election commitment, that combined with all the other measures implemented under Operation Sovereign Borders has delivered a more than 80 per cent reduction in illegal boat arrivals since the operation began,’ Mr Morrison said.(Aust Gov)