The government is one vote away from a critical policy win after Clive Palmer declared this morning that his two senators would back immigration minister Scott Morrison’s wide-ranging changes to migration legislation on the last sitting day of 2014.
The success of the bill, which includes temporary protection visas for asylum seekers, is now down to the Motoring Enthusiasts Party senator Ricky Muir, who has not yet indicated how he will vote, but the immigration minister has made several amendments to the legislation yesterday in a bid to secure PUP’s support.
The new legislation includes increased powers to intercept and turn back boats and transfer asylum seekers to anywhere in the world of the government’s choosing.
Palmer said he’s “pretty sure” Muir will support the bill.
With 30,000 asylum seekers still waiting to be processed and 460 children in detention, awaiting release, Labor has accused the Minister of using the children as hostages to get his legislation through.
“We think it’s important to get these children off Christmas Island,” Clive Palmer said at his media conference this morning before once again storming off when reporters began to question him over business dealings.
The migration bill is opposed by the ALP and Greens, as well as senators Jacqui Lambie and John Madigan, while South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has sided with the government.
If approved, Morrison says he will release the children from detention, offer bridging visa so asylum seekers can work while they await a determination on their claims after PUP requested a a safe haven enterprise visa be included. But
Australia’s refugee intake will also increase from 13,750 to 18,750 over four years.
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