Opposition Must Come Clean On Temporary Protection Visas

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30th October 2009, 05:34pm - Views: 723

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Media Contact: Simon Dowding – (02) 6277 7860 or 0411 138 541

Media release

Senator Chris Evans

Leader of the Government in the Senate

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship


                    30 October 2009

Opposition must come clean on Temporary Protection visas

Malcolm Turnbull has today signalled that the Liberal Party wants to revive the Howard

Government's discredited asylum seeker policies.  If Mr Turnbull's policy is to reinstate

Temporary Protection visas (TPV), he must come clean and tell the public that TPVs did not act

as a deterrent to people smuggling.

TPVs did not stop boats arriving.

TPVs were introduced in October 1999. There were 3722 irregular maritime arrivals that year. 

During the next two years there were 8459 irregular maritime arrivals, including 5520 arrivals in

2001 alone. An unfortunate consequence of this was that it forced more women and children to

risk their lives with people smugglers on leaky boats because the harsh conditions attached to

TPVs prevented people from being reunited with their families. 

From 1999 to 2001 the proportion of women and children among Iraqi and Afghan irregular

maritime arrivals more than tripled.  In 1999, 12.77 per cent of protection visa applications

lodged by Iraqi and Afghan irregular maritime arrivals were from women and children.  That

figure rose to 27.56 per cent in 2000 and 41.81 per cent in 2001. 

People granted TPVs did not leave Australia

By the time TPVs were abolished last year, nearly 90 percent of people initially granted a TPV

had been granted a Permanent Protection visa or another visa to remain in Australia.  

More than 11 000 people were granted TPVs.  Of these, 9841 had already been granted a

Permanent Protection visa (9690) or another visa (151) as at 8 August 2008. Only 379 people,

or about 3 per cent of those granted a TPV, had departed Australia.

The Liberal Party did not oppose the abolition of TPVs

The Liberal Party was silent when the Government announced the scrapping of TPVs in May

2008 and did not oppose the regulation changes in the Parliament in August that year.

The UNHCR is against TPVs

UNHCR Submission to Senate Select Committee on Ministerial Discretion and Migration

Matters (June 2000)

"The conditions of the Temporary Protection Visa are unacceptable to UNHCR in their denial of

the (Refugee) Convention right to travel documents as well as the denial to family reunion."

UNHCR Submission to Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee (July


“UNHCR has a number of concerns in relation to Australia’s Temporary Protection visa (TPV)

and Temporary Humanitarian visa (THV) regime.”

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