Opposition Leader Peter Dutton says an Albanian government decision has given people smugglers new motivation following the undetected arrival of two boats of asylum seekers along WA’s remote northern coast last week. .
Dutton said Anthony Albanese’s removal of safe haven business visas and temporary protection visas that allowed 19,000 already arrived asylum seekers to remain in Australia permanently is a decoy used by people smugglers.
He told Sydney radio station 2GB on Thursday that the abolition of Temporary Protection Visas is something Albanese never talks about, but it has undermined the effort to deter asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat from Indonesia .
“By taking the Temporary Protection Visa off the table, people know that once a Permanent Protection Visa is issued it is essentially a fait accompli that they will then obtain citizenship,” Dutton told interviewer Ray Hadley.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton says the removal of temporary protection visas for people already in Australia has encouraged people smugglers.
“If they have to wait a couple of years before being released into the community, they will pay money for that too if they know there will be an outcome.”
Dutton said the arrival of two boats carrying more than 40 asylum seekers at locations 51 kilometers apart in remote Western Australia showed northern Australia’s surveillance efforts had failed.
“They (the Albanian government) have cut funding for surveillance flights and surveillance flights have been reduced by 20 per cent or something like that,” Mr Dutton said.
‘You reap what you sow. This is the twelfth ship to arrive and the people smugglers will be rubbing their hands.’
The opposition leader, who as Home Secretary during Morrison’s Liberal government was responsible for efforts to stop boats of asylum seekers, said people smugglers were also enjoying news of the end to permanent detention of asylum seekers. immigrants.
Two separate groups of asylum seekers turned up in remote northern Western Australia on Friday, having arrived undetected by boat from Indonesia.
“When you release 149 criminals from immigration detention, (with) very serious crimes that they committed, human traffickers hear that too,” Dutton said, referring to the November Superior Court decision that declared indefinite detention illegal.
“They say, ‘Why wouldn’t you pay your money to get on a boat?’ “Even if you commit a crime, in a couple of years you will be in Australian society and on the path to citizenship.”
Dutton foresaw problems with what he said were 2,000 visas that had been hurriedly processed for Palestinians to flee Gaza – where there is intense fighting between the ruling Hamas regime and Israel – and come to Australia.
“They are now bringing in 2,000 people from the Gaza Strip during a war in which Hamas, a terrorist organization in our country, is in control,” Mr Dutton said.
‘They bring them in with one-day approvals, so not the necessary checks you would expect, biometric checks, etc.
‘They are bringing these people in in record time and you wonder why there are problems in this country.
‘I think the Prime Minister is creating another problem here; His responsibility is to keep the country safe and right now he is presiding over decisions that do the opposite.’
Asylum seekers attempting to disembark in Australia by boat has been an explosive topic in recent political history (pictured, a boat of asylum seekers in 2012 is escorted to Christmas Island by navy personnel).
Immigration Minister Adam Giles on Wednesday accused Dutton of trying to “fear fear” about Palestinian visas because “they believe there are votes for them.”
Home Secretary Clare O’Neil said visas were issued with due diligence by public servants.
Previously, people with Safe Haven Business Visas and Temporary Protection Visas were uncertain about their future in Australia.
They were denied access to welfare payments, including Medicare, and were unable to apply for immigrant family reunification rights for their relatives.
When visas for new arrivals were scrapped in February, fulfilling an election promise made by Albanese, the navy was reported to have “rushed” ships and planes to reinforce patrols in the north for fear that people smuggling would resume.
The issue of people smugglers bringing boatloads of asylum seekers to Australia has been one of the country’s most charged political issues since the early 2000s.
When former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd abolished Temporary Protection Visas in 2007 and removed overseas detention, there was an increase in people trafficking that had previously been stopped under the Howard Coalition government.
When Rudd was replaced as Labor leader by Julia Gillard, she again began extraterritorial processing of asylum seekers on the island of Nauru, a policy that remains in place to this day.
Temporary Protection Visas returned when the Coalition returned to power under Tony Abbott, whose ‘stop the boats’ electoral mantra manifested itself in the military-led Operation Sovereign Borders.
While all those who previously held Temporary Protection Visas will be granted a new status, the Albanian government has not completely abolished them and they remain a measure that can be reapplied.