Subject: Visa Revalidation Bill.
Minister thank you for talking to AM.
Pleasure, thank you.
Under your ministerial powers you already have the power to cancel or even refuse visas based on character grounds. Is this new power, new push for powers, just for show?
So Sabra let's put this into perspective.
The Shadow Minister spoke to me on Sunday and said that he had no problems with this Bill whatsoever. There was an issue in relation to one minor change, one aspect that they wanted and we said no. I said we're not going to allow that amendment.
And there has been no talk whatsoever of religious concerns or the sort of hype that we’ve heard in the last 24 hours. In fact the Labor Senate inquiry investigated this Bill and made no recommendation other than to pass the Bill.
This is an outrage – I mean I've seen some mendacious acts in my 15 years in Parliament – this would be one of the most mendacious acts by a Shadow Minister, desperate for attention and frankly desperate to distract from Bill Shorten’s political whipping in Parliament yesterday. This is nothing more and nothing less.
Let's put the politics to one side for the moment.
They are the facts Sabra.
Now the fact that we're – just dealing with this Bill – this is a ten year visa that applies to visitors from China and what we've said is during the period of those ten years, if somebody for example, commits a criminal offence or they are put on a terrorist watch list, then we reserve the right to go back and have a look at their details and to stop them from coming to our country.
The ten year visa was extended because we wanted to increase the number of visitors coming from China. It increased from two or three years, which would be the normal visa period, or in some cases only six months if people are coming on a visitor visa and it was the case that this was supported by Labor without any reservation at all up until Bill Shorten's drama in the Parliament yesterday.
So I think this needs to be called out because it is a complete fabrication on Labor's part.
But what you're proposing means that there'll be no parliamentary oversight. You're asking MPs and Australians …
…that's rubbish, that's rubbish, Sabra. I mean that is the Labor lie and this is disallowable. So it's disallowable in the Senate. There's no problem with that and we've said that is the case. Now there is a second element to this Bill which relates to public interest.
So if we had for example – and we're only talking about the China example here – if there was an Ebola crisis, a bird flu crisis, if there was another Tiananmen Square for example and we saw people that started to come in mass numbers then there is the ability under this proposal, under this legislation – which Labor has expressed no concern with whatsoever up until the last 24 hours – for us to put in place a suspension until we could conduct an orderly migration process. That is perfectly reasonable in the national interest.
And why Labor would disagree with that, as I say they raised not a concern in the Senate inquiry and it seems to me quite strange now that just in the last 24 hours, Labor is talking about, this suggestion that it's Trump-like, this was all introduced before Mr Trump was elected President. And frankly, I mean the Labor Party would be sitting back smirking at the moment because all they're trying to do is to create a distraction from Bill Shorten's disaster in the Parliament yesterday.
Ok Minister, that's all we've got time for. Thanks for your time this morning.