Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

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I stumbled across a bit of legislation yesterday which I haven’t noticed any media coverage of.  When I looked, I managed to find one article, telling me the amendment passed the lower house in May. This surprises me, because the legislation in question gives quite amazing powers to the Minister of the department.  The then minister, Chris Evans, gives assurances in the artcle that he would use the powers judiciously.  He might – what of his successors? Who knows?

Admittedly, this particular department is rather close to my heart at the moment, but what worries me about this is the precedent it sets.  One minute we give such powers to one minister and the next will be?  The Tax Man, perhaps?  The Health Minister?

The actual wording of the amendment also worries me.  Thankfully Protection Visas seem to be excluded from the worst of the provisions, however it would seem that Partner Visas and Family Sponsored visas are not.  I find this totally unacceptable.

Then there is the power for the minister to simply cancel applications.  The effect will be as if the application was never made.  I take this to mean that people can apply under prevailing conditions in good faith, then simply be told, “Sorry, you actually never applied”. 

To start thinking about what other legislation such an approach could be applied to is frightening. 

Where was the media when this was originally being read in the lower house?  Why was there not more coverage? 

1984, here we come.

Yes, we have to manage immigration.  After all, this wide brown land is mostly desert.  It is big, but vast tracts are not exactly inhabitable.  It isn’t managing immigration that bothers me here – it is managing our politicians and how much unfettered power we allow them.

Edit December 5th: It appears the passage of  this piece of legislation got derailed due to the election.  It is hopeful that it is will stay derailed.  However, that does not change my underlying concerns.

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Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 4, 2010 at 8:06 am

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