Posted November 10, 2021 16:12:17 Labor has vowed to defeat a Senate motion to pass the 2019 National Immigration Plan.
The Coalition is also facing a backlash from the Coalition’s own backbench for the government’s proposed changes to the Migration Act, which would allow the deportation of people who have been convicted of an offence, or are on parole or an order of protection.
It is understood Labor has been urging the crossbenchers to oppose the motion.
However, the Coalition has been strongly backed by the Senate and has the support of some backbenchers in the upper house.
Opposition leader Richard Di Natale said the Government’s proposals were not good enough.
“We’re seeing this Government’s approach being taken against the advice of experts, the advice that we’ve got in front of us, from the Migration Review Board, that we’re not prepared to take any of that,” Mr Di Natal said.
“It’s disappointing to see the Government take this advice so seriously, but we’ll continue to defend the interests of the Australian people, and we’ll fight for the interests and the priorities of the Commonwealth.”
Labor senator Cory Bernardi said it was important to note that while the Government was taking the advice, Labor did not agree with it.
“The Labor Party supports the Government, but it does not endorse the proposed changes,” he said.
Mr Bernardi was responding to a question about whether Labor would oppose the Government in the Senate.
“I think Labor’s position is clear,” he told ABC Radio.
“There’s a lot of work to be done on this legislation and I think we will continue to work on it in the coming days and weeks.”
The Government’s proposed amendments include allowing the Government to remove foreign criminals, while increasing the minimum prison term for people convicted of serious offences.
“In other words, if someone is a violent criminal, they could be eligible for deportation and then they could have a maximum prison term of five years,” Mr Bernardy said.
The amendments also require the Government and the Immigration Department to report annually on the effectiveness of their immigration policies, including whether or not people are removed for serious offences or not.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says he will vote against the motion in the House of Representatives.
“This is a significant bill that will impact on our communities, the future of our communities and the very future of Australia,” he says.
“That’s why I’m voting against it.”
He also says he believes the government will win the Senate vote because of the number of crossbencher votes, which he says is a reflection of the crossbench’s support for the measures.
The Federal Opposition will be in opposition to the Senate motion, too.
Labor has put forward amendments to the bill that would remove the Government from the cross-bench, which will be debated in the lower house.
Senator Richard DiNatale said he supported the Government on the issue.
“These amendments are in line with the Government of Australia’s commitment to supporting the community and ensuring we have a humane and just immigration system,” he wrote in a blog post.
“However, the amendments do not go far enough in order to ensure that people convicted for serious crimes are not deported.
The Government must work to reduce the numbers of people deported and re-offend, and this amendment would only do so by putting a greater burden on local authorities.”