Friday, 09 August 2019
Media release

Labor must back law to deport foreign criminals

Once again the Labor party is flip-flopping on important legislation aimed at keeping Australians safe.

Yesterday, Labor Home Affairs Spokeswoman Kristina Keneally refused to support the Government's amendment to the Migration Act 1958 that will strengthen the powers to cancel the visas of serious criminals.

Ms Keneally told Sky News "it has not been clear since the Government introduced this legislation in the last Parliament, why they need to change this."

Her position isn't new. In February, Ms Keneally and the then Immigration Spokesman Shayne Neumann stated in a Senate report that "Labor does not support this Bill."

Then on 4 July, instead of supporting the Government to pass the Bill in the Parliament, Labor teamed up with the Greens to refer it to yet another Senate inquiry, saying it would "lower an already low bar for refusing or cancelling the visas of non-citizens…"

Despite the constant blocking of this Bill by Labor, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese yesterday told Perth radio listeners that "up to this point, we've supported legislation that the Government has put forward."

He said "is it a good idea to deport people who break the law in Australia; yes it is."

So why isn't Labor backing this Bill?

The Government's legislation targets foreign criminals who commit serious offences such as sex offenders, violent thugs and those who commit crimes against women and children.

The Coalition does not believe these are 'low bar' crimes. These are crimes that have significant and often long-term impacts on victims and their friends and family.

During Labor's previous six years in Government, they took little action over foreign criminals committing crimes against Australians.

Between 2008 and 2013, Labor cancelled just 650 visas of foreign criminals. Since 2014, the Coalition has cancelled more than 4700 visas – more than seven times that of Labor.

Labor's position on this Bill is outrageous. Do they want to protect Australians from violent criminals, or are they more interested in standing up for non-citizens who come to Australia and commit serious, violent offences?