The government reintroduced temporary protection visas after it received support from the Palmer United Party (PUP) and Ricky Muir of the Motoring Enthusiast Party. Immigration minister Scott Morrison announced a number of concessions to bring crossbenchers across the line.
These concessions include the increase of refugee and humanitarian intake by 7500 places to 20,000, subject to Senate approval. The package also includes further details about the safe haven enterprise visa, which would allow asylum seekers to work or study in certain regional areas. The visa aims to provide a “pathway” to permanent residency. Critics claim the bill strips the right of appeal and gives the government greater powers to detain and remove asylum seekers at sea.
Mr Morrison also announced the removal of all children from Christmas Island detention centre before Christmas. However, the release of these children will be under new ‘fast-track’ assessments, which remove appeal rights. The United Nations Committee Against Torture warned the bill could mean asylum seekers, including children, would be forced back to the countries they’d fled to face torture.
Four asylum seekers on Manus Island sewed their lips together in protest at being held on the island for more than a year. A letter obtained by Guardian Australia says that protesters claim they suffer catastrophic conditions and are treated like slaves. Two hundred and fifty asylum seekers are undertaking a hunger strike about being held in detention without any guarantee about their futures.
A three-day standoff by two pregnant refugees who refused to get off a bus ended with the women being taken inside a Northern Territory detention centre.
Police intervened in the deportation of an Iranian asylum seeker accused of rape to obtain a criminal justice visa. The man’s lawyer says he deserves the opportunity to clear his name in court and will contest the charge.