What is the Revalidation Bill?
This bill is a pernicious piece of legislation presently before the Senate. It has been presented in an extremely dishonest way. Supposedly merely a bit of legislation to enable more efficient administration of a new trial 10 year multiple entry visa for Chinese nationals, in fact it has extremely wide ranging and concerning consequences.
They effect of the bill will allow the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, entirely at his discretion, to arbitrarily have any group, as he defines, be required to have their visas or residency permits ‘revalidated’. That is without reason he can say ‘I know you have a valid visa or residency status, but we are going to take another look at that and might decide not to reissue it.’
The critical and most dangerous element of this is that the Minister gets decide what ‘group’ or ‘class of persons’ have to have their visa or residency ‘revalidated’. From the bill
“96E Minister may determine that certain visa holders must complete revalidation check in the public interest
(1) If the Minister thinks it is in the public interest to do so, the Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine that a specified class of persons holding a visa of a prescribed kind (however described) must complete a revalidation check for the visa.”
Who might it affect?
The minster may define a ‘class of persons’ to be
- People from a particlar country, say Iran or Afghannistan
- People on a particular visa, say a refugee visa or a permanent protection visa
- A combination of these things, say refugees on permanent protection visas from Somalia who arrived between this date and that date.
There is no oversight for this process. It is entirely up to the Minister, who once a visa is being revalidated may declare that the visa should not be issued on national security or public interest grounds. It is effectively the power to cancel visas for no genuine or legitimate reason whatsoever, even when the the person who’s visa is being cancelled has done nothing wrong or is even suspected of having or intending to do anything wrong.
This is a further expansion of executive power, unchecked by the judiciary.
The Guardian has an article on this here. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/09/religious-groups-could-have-australian-visas-cancelled-under-proposed-powers-for-dutton
What can we do?
If the Greens (almost certainly) and the ALP (increasingly likely) vote against the bill in the Senate, then the government needs the cross-bench senators to support the bill. The Senators who are most likely to be persuaded to block the bill are
Senator Derryn Hinch
(02) 6277 3168
1300 498 035
Senator David Leyonhjelm
(02) 6277 3054
1300 884 092
Senator Jacqui Lambie
(02) 6277 3063
(03) 6431 2233
Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore
(02) 6277 3178
(08) 8232 0440
Senator Stirling Griff
(02) 6277 3713
1300 556 115
Senator Nick Xenophon
(02) 6277 3713
1300 556 115
It’s preferred to actually phone them. This takes up more staff time and has more impact on the Senators perception of public opinion.
Be polite with staff, but put a firm opinion.
We suggest the following talking points
- This bill is further expansion of executive power
- This bill would allow the minister to discriminate on the basis of racial or national identity
- The bill could see people having visas or residency cancelled when they have done nothign wrong or are even suspected of having done or intending to do anything wrong
- This bill would almost certainly be abused by the present minister for purely politicla purposes
- This minister can’t be trusted, he has consistently shown a disdain for the rule of law and contempt for concepts of fairness and justice
RRAN MeetingsRRAN WA and Fremantle RRAN meet the first Monday of the month at 6.30pm at the Boorloo Activist Centre, U15/5 Aberdeen Street, Perth (just north of the McIver Train Station or online via Jitsi. For more details, send us a message via our Contact RRAN WA page, or call/text us on 0412 860 168. Contact Fremantle RRAN