Government attacks Labor over TPVs
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison have launched a blistering attack on Labor for teaming up with the Greens in the Senate to block the reintroduction of temporary protection visas.PT2M18S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2yo7x 620 349 December 3, 2013
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Labor and the Greens have scuttled the Abbott government's attempt to reintroduce temporary protection visas for asylum seekers, sparking an angry response from Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.
The parties Labor and the Greens teamed up on Monday night to pass a disallowance motion in the Senate, 36 votes 26, to quash the controversial visas.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has slammed Labor for voting with the Greens to scuttle the reintroduction of temnporary protection visas. Photo: Tamara Dean.
The Abbott government reintroduced temporary protection visas via regulation in October as a key plank of its hardline Operation Sovereign Borders policy aimed at discouraging asylum seeker boat journeys.
It must now wait for six months to reintroduce regulation of the same substance.
Mr Morrison attacked the move, telling ABC radio on Tuesday morning that Labor had ''repeated one of their worst mistakes in government''.
''Over five-and-a-half years ago they abolished temporary protection visas, and in the wake of that over 50,000 people turned up on over 800 boats, including over 8000 children,'' he said.
''There were more than 1100 deaths at sea, and over those five-and-a-half years the Labor Party has learnt nothing about their border failures.''
At a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he would not be deterred by the blocking of the Coalition's legislation.
Mr Abbott said the government would be ‘‘making further announcements shortly on additional measures’’ that would ensure asylum seekers who came to Australia by boat would never get permanent visas.
But the Prime Minister would not say what these announcements would contain or when he would reveal them.
‘‘This government will never allow people who come here illegally by boat to gain permanent residency in Australia,’’ Mr Abbott said.
During debate on the visas on Monday night, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said that the government's cruelty should not harm the hearts of people who had suffered so much already.
''No longer will these refugees have to live in limbo,'' she said.
''These visas never worked as a deterrent, they only punished the most vulnerable.''
Assistant Minister for Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash said that if Labor supported the motion it proved they stood for nothing more than ''promulgating the people smugglers' business model''.
''The choice for the opposition is very clear,'' she said, before going on to attack the previous Labor government's ''disastrous legacy'' on asylum seeker boat arrivals.
Labor frontbencher Kim Carr told the chamber Labor supported the motion because the visas could result in further tragedies.
''TPVs act as a magnet for women and children . . . such is the desperation of people seeking to be reunited with their loved ones,'' Senator Carr said, explaining that the visas removed scope for family reunions.
The temporary visas were used during the Howard government era. They gave refugees protection for up to three years and banned them from applying for permanent protection. The visas also prohibited family reunions.
In a statement after the vote on Monday, Mr Morrison said that the backlog of asylum seekers waiting to be issued with visas under Labor's system would not be settled by the Coalition.
''We will be keeping our promise to deny permanent residence to those who arrived illegally by boat, whether they turned up three months ago or three years ago.''
AAP, with Joanathan Swan