Changes to section 501 in the Migration Act 1958  get very little mention by Scott Morrison or the media in the lead up to it's amendment. Instead we see the political atmosphere was charged with debates around immigration matters around refugees, detention centres, temporary protection visas (TPVs), releasing children from detention and bargaining.

Any commentary, debate  and  lead up to the  changes and  catastrophic impact on all non-citizens is almost non-existent - it was eventually slipped in on the 12th December, 2014 without hardly anyone batting an eyelid. Researching articles is difficult as there is very little mention at all.

‘Irrelevant and impotent’: Scott Morrison comes out swinging after controversial migration bill is passed

December 5, 2014

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has come out swinging at the Labor party and the Greens after his controversial migration bill was passed today.

Needing six of eight senate crossbench votes to pass the legislation, the government was able to win support for the bill by promising to release more than 100 children from detention on Christmas Island before Christmas.

Mr Morrison took the Opposition to task, saying they had “opposed the government every step of the way”.

“I will not take moral lectures from Bill Shortern or Sarah Hanson-Young on that or any other issue,” he said.

“They have proven themselves irrelevant and impotent on issues of border protection.”

Mr Morrison warned his colleagues to expect the “inevitable handwringing and hypocritical criticism” from the opposition and took umbrage with Senator Hanson-Young questioning the integrity of refugee advocate Paris Aristotle.

“Senator Hanson-Young couldn't hold a candle to Paris Aristotle and she should apologise for what she said about him last night.

“She can take whatever crack at me likes but when she calls into question the integrity of Paris Aristotle, it’s just simply grubby.”

Mr Morrison thanked those senators who had sided with the government on the bill: Palmer United Party’s Dio Wang and Glenn Lazarus; Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm; Family First’s Bob Day; Motoring Enthusiasts’ Party Ricky Muir; and independent Nick Xenophon.

He also thanked Clive Palmer for his work in negotiating on amendments in exchange for his senator’s votes.

Mr Morrison defended the work of Treasurer Joe Hockey, saying their portfolios had many similarities.

“We’ve both been left with an ugly, filthy mess from the Labor party,” he said.

“As Barnaby [Joyce] says, ‘they’ve trashed the house, they’ve shot the dog, thrown the keys on the lawn and just burned out up the street’.

“That’s what the Labor party did at our borders and what they did at the economy.

“With Joe Hockey, I’ll be brothers-in-arms in supporting him to fix the big challenges he has as I know he has been to me.”

The legislation, which passed the senate with 34 votes to 32, sees the re-introduction of temporary protection visas (TPVs), a divisive measure from the Howard-era Liberal government.

The laws were quickly passed in the House of Representatives this morning.

• TPVs are granted to refugees who are deemed to be legitimately seeking asylum released into the community and are free to work but face being sent home after three years at the government’s discretion.

• They are issued on an individual basis, meaning refugees are unable to bring any family with them.

• The visas have been criticised for limiting education potential and creating anxiety over the finite term of their protection from persecution in their home countries.

• The government says TPVs will deter people smugglers who are now unable to promise permanent settlement in Australia.

• Australia will have sweeping new maritime powers, allowing it to turn back refugee boats and distance itself from the Refugee Convention, despite being a signatory.

• The bill will see the government fast-track applications from the “legacy caseload”, which covers asylum seekers who arrived before Labor legislation was implemented denying them the right to settle in 2013.

Senator Muir, who held the deciding vote, said he had major reservations about the bill but decided that any action to release asylum seekers was better than none.

He said he had received a phone call from detention centre staff on Christmas Island pleading with him to help their plight.

"It shouldn't be like this, but it is,” he said.

“The crossbench shouldn't have been put in this position, but we have.

"I am forced into a corner to decide between a bad decision and a worse decision, a position I do not wish on my worst enemies."

Assistant Minister for Immigration Michaelia Cash hailed the reforms’ successful passage through the Senate.

"Tonight we bring an end to 50,000 people coming here illegally by boat because the people smugglers had a product to sell," she said.

"Tonight we will put an end to the deaths at sea because the people smugglers were able to market permanent protection in Australia."

Senator Hanson-Young, who with independent Jacqui Lambie voted against the bill, said crossbenchers had been duped by Mr Morrison.

"These new visas will be a path to nowhere for the overwhelming majority of refugees and despite what Mr Palmer says, there is no access to family reunion in the legislation," she said.

Around 30,000 people are held in detention centres across Australia.

Migration laws pass the Senate after gaining support of crossbenchers

December 5, 2014

Scott Morrison's last-minute promise to process the claims of tens of thousands of asylum seekers locked in the support of the crossbenchers. Photo: Andrew Meares

A controversial bill that will introduce new temporary visas and give the government sweeping new maritime powers was passed in the Senate in the early hours of Friday morning

The bill will allow the government to detain asylum seekers, fast track refugee status determinations and distance itself from the Refugee Convention, of which it is a signatory.

It will also mean that just over 100 children who are in immigration detention on Christmas Island will be released by Christmas, as promised by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday in a last minute pitch to the crossbenchers to garner their support.

The amended Act, which was the last bill to pass in the Senate for 2014, hinged on the support of six crossbenchers.


The upper house approved the suite of measures - including the return of temporary protection visas - after a long and heated debate that stretched into Friday morning.

The bill now proceeds to the House of Representatives, where the government controls the numbers and its passage into law is all but assured.

On Thursday morning the Palmer United Party confirmed its support, while the final vote came from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party member Ricky Muir.

"The crossbench shouldn't have been put in this position, but we have," Mr Muir said.

"I am forced into a corner to decide between a bad decision and a worse decision, a position I do not wish on my worst enemies."

Labor, the Greens and refugee advocates, who oppose the bill, said when history is written, it will "shock people".

On Thursday night Labor Senators Kim Carr and Sue Lines both criticised Immigration Scott Morrison for using children as "bargaining chips" to get the bill through.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said Mr Palmer had been "tricked again".

"These new visas will be a path to nowhere for the overwhelming majority of refugees and, despite what Mr Palmer says, there is no access to family reunion in the legislation," she said.

Save the Children's Director of Policy and Public Affairs Mat Tinkler said he supported the decision to remove children from immigration detention, but was "deeply concerned" over additional amendments to the bill.

"The deal done to pass the legislation through the Senate ignores the plight of the hundreds of children who remain stuck in mandatory, offshore detention on Nauru," Mr Tinkler said. "No child belongs in immigration detention, which is detrimental to their health and well-being. 

The Immigration Minister's compromised policy included promises that the 30,000 asylum seekers on bridging visas would be allowed to work while their claims are processed, and that there would be no cap on the number of Safe Haven Enterprise Visas. 

Morrison tries last minute sweeteners to crossbenchers

December 3, 2014 Sarah Whyte and Michael Gordon

A last-minute bid by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to persuade Senate crossbenchers to support his controversial Migration Act was facing defeat on Wednesday night, with key senators saying the Minister's changes did not go far enough.

But the fate of the legislation is likely to hinge of more negotiations between Mr Morrison and the crossbench before the Senate rises for the Christmas break on Thursday.
Read more: 

Scott Morrison vows to increase refugee intake if crossbench senators support migration bill

December 3, 2014

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has made a last minute pitch to crossbench senators and Clive Palmer to try secure their support for the government's controversial Migration Act, promising to increase Australia's refugee intake if they pass the bill.

Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra that he would increase the annual humanitarian intake of refugees from 13,750 to 18,750 over the next four years if the bill currently before the Senate is passed.

But the increase will only happen once the "legacy caseload" of the 30,000 asylum seekers who arrived under Labor has been cleared. He also announced that while the asylum seekers are processed, he would offer work rights.

But it appeared unlikely that these and other concessions would persuade crossbenchers to support the legislation before Parliament rises for the year on Thursday.

Mr Morrison's concessions come a day after Education Minister Christopher Pyne failed to secure Senate support for the government's higher education changes.

Mr Morrison needs six crossbenchers to agree to the changes for the amendments to pass. The changes will give the government sweeping new maritime powers and distance itself from the United Nations Refugee Convention.

The bill will also reintroduce temporary protection visas, which give asylum seekers work rights, but never allow them to permanently resettle in Australian. 

In negotiations with Mr Palmer, Mr Morrison also introduced five-year Special Humanitarian Enterprise Visas, which could allow asylum seekers to apply for additional visas, such as a 457 visa, but, the minister said, would not lead to a permanent protection visa.

Fairfax Media understands the Palmer United Party leader might not accept the latest changes made by Mr Morrison and may request more time.

Only three crossbench senators - Nick Xenophon, Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm - are understood to have supported the amendments so far.

Senator John Madigan told the Senate on Wednesday he would not vote for the amendments, meaning Mr Morrison will additionally need the support of PUP or senators Jacqui Lambie and Ricky Muir.

If Labor and the Greens move to block the legislation for a third time, they will need the support of three crossbenchers.

Morrison said he wanted children out of the Christmas Island detention centre by Christmas, but would only remove them if the Senate passed the legislation. He also refused to separate the bill to allow the 30,000 asylum seekers to be processed.

"My negotiations have been about a complete package," Mr Morrison said.

Less than a month ago Mr Morrison said there were no plans to increase the humanitarian intake from 13,750, a further sign of his increasing determination to get the legislation through before the end of this year.

On a Brisbane morning radio show last month, Mr Morrison said: "If we are going to have a larger intake, then that should be a debate about the budgetary impacts of that and our capacity to deliver services to those who we take under that program. 

"Now that's a fair dinkum legitimate debate, and I'm happy to engage in that debate. At present we believe the right setting is 13,750."

Labor immigration spokesman Richard Marles said Mr Morrison's bargain plea was "politics at its worse", saying the minister could have taken all children off Christmas Island months ago, rather than hinging his decision on the Senate passing the bill.

"He is using these people as bargaining chips in his political game and it is outrageous," Mr Marles said.

Labor supports the use of Special Humanitarian Enterprise Visas if they can lead to permanent visas for asylum seekers. 

Changes to act would allow Scott Morrison to 'play God'

March 19, 2014

Changes to a core migration act, which critics argue could allow Scott Morrison to “play God” and decide the fate of asylum seekers, have been investigated by a Senate committee.

Under current complementary protection visa requirements, people not defined as "refugees" - such as women who are fleeing from honour killings, genital female mutilation or torture victims - can be granted visas through the normal refugee processes.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Tamara Dean.

Now, under the proposed changes Mr Morrison will have discretionary power to rule the fate of these asylum seekers.


The Greens party, academics and refugee advocates argue the changes will risk Australia's compliance with international law, could harm vulnerable people, will remove standard legal processes and protections, and could create errors by introducing inefficient processing measures.

On Tuesday the Senate committee recommended the bill be passed, as long as administrative processes are put in place. But it still remains unlikely the bill will pass in the Senate.

Only five years ago, then Labor immigration minister Chris Evans likened the responsibility of the Migration Act to "playing God", saying he had too much power and the workload was too immense. The act was subsequently changed 19 months ago.

In a submission to the inquiry, president of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs said the bill would increase the risk of Australia breaking its international obligations.

"We think there will be an increase in the risk that Australia will return people to their countries of origin despite the fact there is a real risk they will suffer irreparable harm, including torture or death, on their return," Dr Triggs wrote in her submission.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the government had an "unhealthy obsession with power."

“Without Complementary Protection, the Immigration Minister himself will decide who gets protection and who gets sent home with a single stroke of his pen," Senator Hanson-Young said.

Meanwhile, Australia's treatment of Sri Lankan asylum seekers was addressed on Tuesday night at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In a statement to the session, human rights lawyer Emily Howie from the The Human Rights Law Centre told the session that Australia's efforts in ''stopping the boats'' was violating the rights of Sri Lankans at risk of persecution from Sri Lankan authorities.

"Australia's forced return of Sri Lankans after an inadequate refugee determination process violates Australia's obligation to non-refoulement," she said.


Scott Morrison was originally the Immigration Minister under the previous Abbott government who was instrumental in amending Section 501 . 

 Click  image  to view PDF

Click image to view PDF

Fifteen things you didn’t know about Scott Morrison

Sep 20, 2015

Get to know the man who now controls the nation’s purse strings with these 15 facts.

Morrison's career has been on a constant upward trajectory. Photo: AAP

1. He entered Federal Parliament in the election of 2007, in which Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister. Soon after the Coalition victory of 2013 he became Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and implemented “Sovereign Borders”, an initiative aimed at preventing people smuggling and asylum seekers deaths at sea.

2. The day after Kevin Rudd’s national apology to indigenous Australians, Morrison said in Parliament that he felt “proud”. “There is no doubt that our Indigenous population has been devastated by the inevitable clash of cultures that came with the arrival of the modern world in 1770 at Kurnell in my electorate.”

• Canning voters send a warning to PM
• Paul Bongiorno: The winner in Canning is … Turnbull

Scott Morrison implements a successful but controversial border control policy. Photo: Getty

3. Morrison grew up in Bronte a beach suburb in Sydney’s east. His father was a policeman and his mother worked in administrative positions. Morrison’s parents ran youth programs for the local church. His father was involved in aged care and served as a local-government councillor for 16 years. Scott’s first political act was at the age of nine, handing out how-to-vote cards for his father.

4. Morrison attended Sydney Boys’ High School through to Year 12. In March 2015, approximately 300 alumni of the schools former students signed a letter protesting Mr Morrison’s attendance at a fund-raising event. The letter accused Mr Morrison of having “so flagrantly disregarded human rights”.

5. Veteran Canberra journalist Laurie Oakes once said on television that the government “should avoid the goading and arrogance of Scott Morrison, where he just pours mullock on journalists”. Oakes added that his attitude towards journalists was disgusting. “When people like Scott Morrison give us the finger when we ask tough questions, we’ve got to shine a light on that and expose it because it’s not acceptable.”

6. To become Liberal candidate for Cook in 2007, he lost in the ballot 82 votes to 8 to Michael Towke, a telecommunications engineer and the candidate of the Liberals’ right faction. However, allegations emerged that Towke had engaged in branch stacking and had embellished his resume.The Liberal Party’s state executive disendorsed Towke and Morrison won the pre-selection. Later, the allegations against Towke were disproved and Sydney’s Daily Telegraph was successfully sued by Towke.

Screenshot of the moment a boat carrying asylum seekers crashed into rocks on Christmas Island. Photo: Getty

7. When 48 people died in the Christmas Island disaster of 2010, Morrison objected to the Gillard Government offering to pay for families’ fares to the funerals in Sydney.

8. In his maiden speech to the Federal Parliament, Morrison paid tribute to British anti-slavery figure William Wilberforce, and also to Desmond Tutu and U2 singer Bono for their humanitarian attitudes to suffering in Africa. Also from his maiden speech: “So what values do I derive from my faith? My answer comes from Jeremiah, chapter 9:24: I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord.”

9. He is an evangelical Christian who worships at a Hillsong-style Pentecostal church in Sydney. One mentor is the founder of Hillsong, Harley Davidson-riding pastor Brian Houston. In Who’s Who Morrison mentions the church as his number-one hobby.

10. When he was the managing director of Tourism Australia, he oversaw the “where The Bloody Hell Are You?” campaign that featured model Lara Bingle.

11. Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that Morrison was “the greatest grub in the federal parliament” for stoking xenophobic and racist fears for political advantage. Pauline Hanson said she would prefer him as PM to Tony Abbott

12. The BBC’s Nick Bryant ungenerously wrote: “My hunch is that Scott Morrison doesn’t spend much time agonising over the contradictions that have marked his career, or fretting about the veering course of a political journey that has taken him from the moderate wing of the party, to the right. The main point for him is that his career has been heading in an ever-upward trajectory.”

13. Since acquiring his Bachelor of Science (Hons) at Sydney University, Morrison has worked at the following:

• National Manager, Policy and Research Property Council of Australia, 1989-95
• Deputy Chief Executive, Australian Tourism Task Force, 1995-96
• General Manager, Tourism Council, 1996-98
• Director, NZ Office of Tourism and Sport, 1998-2000
• State Director, Liberal Party (NSW) 2000-04
• Managing Director, Tourism Australia 2004-06
• Principal, MSAS Pty Ltd 2006-07

14. He met his wife, Jenny, at church, aged just 12. She had grown up in the St George area of south Sydney, solid battler territory, and used to tease Scott about coming from the posh side of town.

15. Scott Morrison was born in 1968, the year The Beatles released the “White Album”, the year that all of Kylie Minogue, James Bond actor Daniel Craig, singer Celine Dion and Australian actor Hugh Jackman were born. It was also the year in which both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated.