The Senate has passed sweeping changes to Australia’s immigration laws, including the re-introduction of temporary protection visas (TPV), representing a much-needed legislative win for the Abbott Government.
Senators sat until the early hours of the morning debating the legislation, which eventually passed with the support of the two Palmer United Party senators, Family First senator Bob Day, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm and a clearly anguished Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiast Party.
Senator Muir told the Chamber the Immigration Minister had made it clear that tens of thousands of asylum seekers would be left in limbo unless the legislation was passed.
“I am forced into a corner to decide between a bad decision and a worse decision; a position I do not wish upon my enemies,” he said.
“A decision that involves human beings, children, mothers, fathers, lives of people who have had to endure unthinkable hardship; people pushed to the point where they go to any lengths to seek asylum.”
Senator Muir told the chamber he had received a letter from asylum seekers.
“They state that if a TPV was the only option this Government was going to offer, accept it because the mental anguish and pain can’t go on,” he said.
“It was a plea, a loud cry for help.