How tourists from FIVE countries could suddenly be banned from coming to Australia under crackdown labelled a Trump-style travel ban


Tourists from at least five countries could be banned from travelling to Australia if Labor’s tough new proposed migration laws pass Parliament. 

The Albanese Government is rushing new legislation through Parliament this week in an attempt to avoid another disastrous ruling from the High Court – after more than 140 asylum seekers, including murderers and rapists, were released into the community in the NZYQ case last November.

The proposed laws would give the Immigration Minister the power to single out countries that do not cooperate with Australia’s attempts to deport people back to their country of origin.

That could result in citizens of Iran, Iraq, Zimbabwe, Russia and South Sudan being banned from travelling to Australia, even for a holiday – although some exceptions would apply.

The government fears an upcoming High Court hearing, set down for April 17, could lead to the court expanding further on its controversial NZYQ decision, leading to up to 170 further detainees walking free.

Tourists from at least five countries could be banned from travelling to Australia if Labor's tough new proposed migration laws pass Parliament. It's possible more would follow

Tourists from at least five countries could be banned from travelling to Australia if Labor’s tough new proposed migration laws pass Parliament. It’s possible more would follow

In an attempt to avoid another disaster ahead of a High Court immigration case next month, Labor is rushing new legislation through parliament during the last sitting week before the hearing. Above is Immigration Minister Andrew Giles

In an attempt to avoid another disaster ahead of a High Court immigration case next month, Labor is rushing new legislation through parliament during the last sitting week before the hearing. Above is Immigration Minister Andrew Giles

The new High Court case relates to an Iranian citizen known as ASF17, who refuses to go back to Iran because as a bisexual man he could face the death penalty. 

If he is successful in court, more detainees who refused to cooperate with their deportations would walk free with him. 

Labor’s proposed laws would also introduce a jail sentence of up to five years for failed asylum seekers who refuse to cooperate with their deportation.

But the bill will not pass without a fight, with the Coalition teaming up with the Greens in the Senate on Wednesday morning to refer it to a formal senate inquiry.

This process could take months. Greens Senator David Shoebridge proposed a reporting date of June, but Coalition Home Affairs spokesperson James Paterson said earlier in the day they intend to have a report finalised before parliament returns in mid-May.

Mr Paterson said if the government could prove the urgent need for the passage of this legislation, the Coalition would be prepared to return to parliament in April to reconsider the matter.

‘In the absence of a genuine, demonstrable urgent need… our intention is for it to go through due process,’ Mr Paterson said. 

Embattled Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said of the proposal: ‘What we’re doing with this piece of legislation, this important piece of legislation, is to fill a very significant loophole.

‘[It is] a loophole that a small cohort of people who have no basis upon which to remain in Australia who are refusing to co-operate with efforts to effect their removal.

‘Importantly… these people are not refugees.’ 

The Greens and the crossbench have expressed concerns about the proposed laws, meaning the government will be relying upon the Coalition for support.

A refugee expert, Sanmati Verma of the Human Rights Law Centre, told the Australian Financial Review the laws would mean all visas from nationals of a country, including tourist visas, could be deemed invalid.  

‘It is the Labor government’s version of Trump’s travel ban, with modest exceptions,’ Ms Verma said. 

Rush to pass the law 

The legislation sailed through the House of Representatives on Tuesday, but was subjected to a Senate grilling on Wednesday night. 

The Coalition has now sided with the Greens in delaying this bill to ensure it undergoes ‘proper due process’. 

Poll

Do you support Labor’s proposed ‘Trump-style’ travel ban?

  • YES 62 votes
  • NO 10 votes
  • IT’S DESPERATION 16 votes

Opposition Immigration spokesman Dan Tehan told Radio National on Wednesday morning there will be ‘further discussions’ before making a decision.

‘There were a few things out of the hearing that still have left us with more questions that we would like answered.

‘And once again, we are seeing a completely botched process by the government. The question was asked last night and very clearly was, what is the rush? What is the need for these laws to be passed through the Senate today? We couldn’t get a clear answer on that.

‘It is quite… extraordinary that you’ve got a major piece of legislation like this. And that we haven’t heard from the Minister for Immigration or the Minister for Home Affairs, neither of them have fronted.’

While the Greens and Coalition have teamed up to torpedo the government’s plans, they’ve done so for starkly different reasons.

The Coalition’s primary concern is ‘unintended consequences’ of the bill – primarily that it could ‘inadvertenty push people to get back on the boats’ and cause more headaches down the track.

But the Greens argue it’s draconian. Mr Shoebridge said: ‘This is about Labor, trying to outflank the Coalition and move to the right of the Coalition in a bill that they seem to have just made up in some long late night drinking session and then brought to the parliament.’

A leaked explanatory memorandum of the bill claimed changes were needed to ‘strengthen the integrity of the migration system’ by making it easier for immigrants to be deported.

The Government's Home Affairs minister Clare O'Neil this month was under fire after it was revealed she relied on verbal advice only for the previous High Court ruling

The Government’s Home Affairs minister Clare O’Neil this month was under fire after it was revealed she relied on verbal advice only for the previous High Court ruling 

Opposition Home Affairs spokesman James Paterson claimed it was 'rushed patch-up job' to get through the new legislation

Opposition Home Affairs spokesman James Paterson claimed it was ‘rushed patch-up job’ to get through the new legislation 

The government has been drafting legislation since Friday. 

‘Non-co-operation with removal processes demonstrates a disregard for Australian laws,’ the memorandum reads.

Opposition home affairs spokesman James Paterson said the Coalition received little more than an hour’s notice the Commonwealth intended to introduce the legislation to parliament on Tuesday.

This gives them about 36 hours to pass the legislation if it is to be done before the end of the sitting week – the last before the High Court hearing.

‘Perhaps if it was in response to a genuine and urgent crisis that would be OK but this is an extraordinary demand to put on parliament, to put on all of us,’ Senator Paterson said.

Greens leader Adam Bandt slammed the government’s approach as extraordinary.

‘Nothing was put forward that justifies us losing the usual rights that everyone in this parliament has to consider such important legislation,’ he said.

Crossbench Warringah MP Zali Steggall said she was ‘deeply disappointed’ Labor was trying to rush through laws without giving enough time to seriously consider the implications.

‘Shame, shame on every member of government for supporting … something that is deeply, deeply undemocratic,’ she said.

Your questions about the ‘Trump style-travel ban’, explained 

How would the new ‘tourist ban’ work? 

The proposed ‘tourist ban’ will only apply to nations which do not accept involuntary deportations. 

The government hopes that the threat alone of banning entry to Australia will be enough to encourage co-operation from these nations.

Officials hope the law will give them leverage over the countries, so Australia can deport citizens who have no genuine claim to enter Australia.

One such example is the case which will appear in the High Court next month. 

An Iranian man is refusing to cooperate with efforts to deport him because he is bisexual, and could face the death penalty if he returns home.

Iran does not accept citizens returning without their consent. 

What was Donald Trump’s travel ban, that the laws are being compared with?

Back in 2017, then-US President Donal Trump introduced a travel ban which prohibited entry to the United States to most citizens of Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. He later added North Korea and Venezuela to the list. 

President Joe Biden revoked the ban when he took office. 

If re-elected, Mr Trump has vowed to reinstate it, and extend it to include people from Gaza

Why will the Albanese government’s new laws take time to pass parliament? 

Labor was relying on support for the Coalition to ensure this bill passed parliament this week.

The Greens are opposed to tougher detention policies and instantly expressed disdain for the bill. The crossbench in the House has also voted against it. Human rights groups have also denounced the proposal as inhumane.

While the Coalition isn’t necessarily opposed to the contents of the bill, they have argued they didn’t get enough time to examine the proposal, given they were only briefed on Tuesday morning during an already shortened parliamentary sitting week.

Opposition Home Affairs spokesman James Paterson said his party operated in ‘good faith’ on Tuesday by passing the bill through the House in order to examine it further during a hastily arranged Senate hearing, but claimed on Wednesday their questions were not appropriately answered.

So now the party has teamed up with the Greens to force the bill to be put before a Senate inquiry, which means there’s no possible way it can pass Parliament on Wednesday, as Labor had hoped.

The Coalition has left the door open to return to Parliament during the break to debate the matter, but only if Labor proves there’s a genuine, urgent need for the laws.

Labor has tried to argue the legislation is simply about closing a newly identified loophole, and have not tried to link this bill to the High Court case taking place on April 17.

In order to get the bill passed before that case, the Coalition may be hoping they’ll concede that the two matters are related. 



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