02 July 2020
Labor once again calls on the Morrison Government to provide pathways to support the people of Hong Kong, including the approximately 17,000 people in Australia from Hong Kong who hold a temporary visa.
No one should be involuntarily deported to Hong Kong if they don’t want to go back.
The Morrison Government has options available to act right now – the Immigration Minister has extremely broad powers and should use those powers to provide visa pathways to respond to any emerging needs.
Scott Morrison said this morning that he has asked for proposals to be brought forward “several weeks ago” and that “the final touches would be put on those and they’ll soon be considered by Cabinet” – well now is the time to deliver.
Temporary visas for Hong Kong citizens currently in Australia have been expiring every week since Scott Morrison asked for his proposals.
The Morrison Government must also make clear to citizens of Hong Kong – including family members of Australians – how existing visa arrangements can be used to respond to any emerging needs, and how Australia’s current border closures would be managed in this situation.
We again note the United Kingdom's reported request for Australia to consider assistance for British National Overseas passport holders in Hong Kong.
The UK has a special relationship with Hong Kong, and this approach to Australia should not have come as a surprise to the Morrison Government – which has still not made its position clear.
Labor expects the Government to act with compassion and work closely with likeminded countries to demonstrate Australia's support for the people of Hong Kong.
Labor has consistently expressed concern about the Chinese Government’s passage of national security legislation for Hong Kong, which undermines the One Country, Two Systems arrangement to which Beijing has committed under the UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The decision to ignore Hong Kong’s legislative authority diminishes the autonomy and democratic freedoms guaranteed under Article 23 of the Basic Law.
We call on the Morrison Government to make these concerns clear to the Chinese Government.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.