The Senate inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and
Other Measures) Bill 2016 received 14 submissions in total. With the exception
of two submissions, all raised significant concerns that the bill would not
achieve its intended outcomes.
Despite the evidence provided and concerns raised, the Chair's report
has recommended that this bill be passed.
The Australian Greens are supportive of legislative measures that
address family violence and agree with submitters that there is merit in addressing
family violence in the migration law context. However, a number of concerns
were raised by submitters.
The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) submitted that:
[B]ecause of concerns about Australia's international
obligations, as well as procedural fairness and privacy, sponsorship
arrangements should not be altered.
The Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) submitted that:
[T]hese measures may...inadvertently 'punish' victims/survivors
by jeopardising their ability to access a visa. Furthermore, the ambiguity of
the measures raises a number of concerns about whether the proposed amendments
will effectively address domestic, family and sexual violence. For example, it
is far from clear whether the requirements imposed on prospective 'family
sponsors' will assisting in not only protecting visa applicants from
domestic, family and sexual violence but also providing victims/survivors with
the support they need.
Further, the Law Council of Australia (LCA) submitted that:
There is no equivalent law that requires partners who are
either citizens or permanent residents to have their partner's criminal and
personal history assessed before they are granted the right to live together.
The Australian Greens note that when the Department of Immigration and
Border Protection (DIBP) previously addressed this matter they concluded that
measures such as these could lead to claims that the Australian Government is
arbitrarily interfering with families, in breach of its international
The majority report has not satisfactorily responded to concerns raised
by the majority of submissions on this bill.
The Australian Greens recommend that the bill be rejected by the Senate.
The Australian Greens recommend increased education on rights and
supports available to respond to family violence for Spouse Visa and Partner
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