September 24, 2014 | the age
A deal between Clive Palmer and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to allow temporary protection visas through the Senate is imminent, and could allow asylum seekers to apply for permanent residency.
Fairfax Media understands the leader of the Palmer United Party has asked that asylum seekers who are given temporary protection visas be allowed to apply for permanent residency and all families are to be removed from Christmas Island, in return for his support of the controversial visas.
Mr Morrison has been in active negotiations with the crossbench to get through the temporary protection visas, which have been voted down twice in the Senate.
If the government does offer permanent residency to people who are on TPVs, it will probably be contingent on specific working conditions covering employment and even where they locate. This would still represent a dramatic departure from the government’s hardline policy.
Only two weeks ago, Mr Morrison said the government “would not consider” offering permanent visas to the 30,000 caseload of asylum seekers who arrived under Labor.
“The idea that they could come onshore, and give them permanent visas, would be a terrible violation of the border protection regime that we have, and it is not something that the government will consider at all,” Mr Morrison said in an address at the National Press Club.
Yet at the same speech, he announced a policy change for asylum seekers who arrived after July 19 last year and before January 2014, saying he would consider offering them temporary protection visas if the Senate passed the visas.
Until then, Mr Morrison has maintained all asylum seekers who arrived after July 19 would be sent to offshore processing centres in Nauru and Manus Island.
A spokesman for Mr Morrison would not confirm if the deal was imminent, saying negotiations with Mr Palmer were “ongoing”.