SENATOR THE HON 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 THE MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
MEMBER FOR SCULLIN
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's mismanagement and failures have seen Australia's asylum application process and migration system being used by criminal syndicates and labour hire companies to traffic exploited workers into Australia.
Peter Dutton has lost control of our borders with over 80,000 people arriving at Australian airports and applying for asylum since 1 July 2014.
There's nothing wrong with claiming asylum - it's an important right - but over ninety percent of these people are found not to be genuine refugees. This, along with the number of people in Australia on bridging visas soaring past 200,0000 for the first time, should be an alarm bell.
Criminal syndicates have seized on the waiting times and delays in the Department of Home Affairs. People are being brought to Australia legally on student or tourist visas, made to apply for protection, and placed on bridging visas while their claims are assessed. During that time they are forced to work - most often in agriculture, hospitality or sexual servitude, and exploited through wage theft, assault, and even slavery.
People smugglers have changed their business model from boats to planes under Peter Dutton's nose.
Even Liberal Ministers have admitted this issue is of concern. When he was Chair on the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Migration, now-Assistant Minister and Liberal MP Jason Wood said:
"Organised crime and illegitimate labour hire companies are using this loophole to bring out illegal workers who are often vulnerable and open to exploitation. This represents an orchestrated scam that enables these criminal elements to exploit foreign workers in Australia until their claims are finalised."
Peter Dutton has done nothing as this problem has exploded, with real costs to people's lives, Australia's border security and the national economy. The impacts of this problem include:
On Monday 26 August, Labor will host a policy roundtable in Canberra with leading migration and border security experts, former departmental officials, unions, and industry and employer groups to discuss this pressing issue, its causes, and its societal, personal, economic and security impacts.
This is a matter for the Morrison Government to resolve. Nonetheless, Labor is highlighting this concerning problem and working with stakeholders - such as the wider agricultural sector who have been asking the Government to act - to identify possible solutions.
Peter Dutton cannot run and hide from his border security failures or his inaction addressing this growing crisis which is leaving thousands of vulnerable people being exploited right here in Australia.