The Senate has vetoed one of the key elements of the Government’s asylum seeker policy: the reintroduction of Temporary Protection Visas.
Labor and the Greens utilised their combined majority in the Upper House to pass a disallowance motion against the Government’s “cruel” TPV regulations.
Meanwhile, Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison reacted angrily to the veto, releasing a statement on Tuesday morning:
Labor fulfils people smugglers’ promise by abolishing TPVs
Labor has repeated history by once again joining with the Greens to vote down Temporary Protection Visas, ignoring the clear mandate obtained by the government at the last election and working to fulfil the people smugglers’ promise of permanent residency to those who arrived illegally by boat on their watch, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today.
‘Just over five years ago Labor abolished TPVs in government and set in train the chaos, cost and tragedy that came with over 50 000 illegal arrivals by boat, including a record of more than 8300 children, and over 1100 deaths at sea,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘Tonight Labor has repeated one of their worst mistakes in government, showing they have learned absolutely nothing from their border failures in government, which they are now maintaining in Opposition.
‘The vote to abolish TPVs is a vote to deliver on the promise of people smugglers to more than 33 000 people who turned up illegally on boats, and were still waiting for their permanent visa from Labor, after more than 15 000 had already been handed out to those who came before them.
‘This won’t be happening under the Coalition. We will be keeping our promise to deny permanent residence to those who arrived illegally by boat, whether they turned up three months ago or three years ago.
‘The Coalition believes those who come the wrong way to Australia should not be rewarded with permanent residency. Labor disagree and have demonstrated once again that when it comes to strong border protection they simply cannot be trusted.
‘Labor’s reckless act betrays the deep divisions and double mindedness on border protection that plagued them in government, contributing to their spectacular border failures, and now drives them once again in Opposition into the arms of the Greens.
‘On his departure from the Parliament Bob Carr pleaded with his Labor colleagues to allow ‘not a bit of daylight between Tony Abbott and Labor on irregular migration’. Tonight’s events have shown that the only two parties between whom no daylight exists on border protection are Labor and the Greens.
‘Tonight Labor has failed to respect the mandate Australians gave to the Coalition at the last election to implement our full suite of policies to stop the boats and restore integrity to our immigration programme.
‘The Australian people can be assured the government will be working to ensure that the smugglers’ promise will not be kept. Those who arrived illegally by boat will not be getting permanent protection visas from the Coalition.
‘The government will be making further announcements on this matter to confirm the denial of permanent residency to those who have arrived illegally by boat,’ Mr Morrison said.