SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
ANDREW GILES MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
MEMBER FOR SCULLIN
Alex Hawke, Australia's first dedicated Immigration Minister in over 12 months, has a long list of issues to fix this Christmas in the immigration portfolio.
1. Restore Australia's sovereign international borders seizing back power from the states and territories and return control of who comes to this country and the circumstances under which they come to the Commonwealth.
2. Help almost 40,000 stranded Australians get home safely;
3. Fix the 97,000 partner and 55,000 parent visa backlog;
4. Fix the backlog of over 160,000 people waiting for Australian citizenship;
5. Fix the over 300,000 bridging visa backlog;
6. Fix the Administrative Appeals Tribunal 83 week backlog;
7. Stamp out exploitation of temporary visa holders and fix the horticultural workforce shortage;
8. Abandon all plans to privatise Australia's visa processing system;
9. Scrap the unfair English language test for partner visas;
10. Develop a plan to reopen Australia's borders safely, including a plan for international students to return to Australia;
11. Return the Biloela family to their home and community;
and finally 12. Accept the New Zealand refugee resettlement deal.
After years of mismanagement and neglect these problems must be fixed by the new Minister, urgently.
Federal Labor welcomes the fact that Australia will soon finally have a dedicated Immigration Minister after more than a year of an acting Minister who failed to give the portfolio his full in some cases any attention.
The truth is Scott Morrison let this important portfolio slip down the priority list, especially by failing to help thousands of Australians stranded overseas during the pandemic.
Instead of showing leadership Scott Morrison continues to pass the buck on quarantine to the states, just like he did with the Ruby Princess fiasco.
At the same time, Peter Dutton has completely lost interest in the Department of Home Affairs.
Australians need a government that delivers, not one that continues to botch the immigration portfolio.