With the latest federal election done and dusted, newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese last week announced his new Labor Government ministry.
In addition to a record number of women and the first Muslim minister being announced, the new ministers for Home Affairs and Immigration were also revealed.
Minister for Home Affairs
Clare O’Neil has taken over the Home Affairs portfolio after shadow Home Affairs Minister, Kristina Keneally lost her seat.
Previously the shadow aged care minister, this is Clare O’Neil’s first position in cabinet after serving in shadow positions. Clare O’Neill has been the member for Hotham in Victoria since 2013.
Minister for Immigration
Andrew Giles will take on the position of Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs. He has been the member for Scullin in Melbourne’s north since 2013. His policy interests include immigration, social policy, cities, future of work and climate change.
In 2001, Andrew Giles was part of the legal team who acted on behalf of asylum seekers on the Tampa. He credits this experience as the reason for entering politics.
How will Immigration look under a Labor government?
During the election campaign Anthony Albanese made claims that there would be an overhaul of Australia’s migration system, yet he wasn’t able to comment on how his government would do this.
Since becoming Immigration Minister, Mr Giles hasn’t given any indication as to how he will tackle the immigration portfolio although he has mentioned there is much work to be done in this area.
If election campaign promises are anything to go by, then Labor is committed to offering permanent residency to foreign workers in an effort to attract more overseas talent. Mr Albanese also pledged that there would be aged care nurses in aged care facilities at all times and would utilise foreign healthcare workers to fulfill this promise if necessary.
A topic of interest, especially in the media is temporary protection visas. Andrew Giles and Clare O’Neil have both spoken out against temporary protection visas. However, in the lead up to the election Anthony Albanese gave the impression that he and the Labor party didn’t really understand illegal immigration and the role that temporary protection visas play in deterring illegal immigration. When questioned on the topic, Mr Albanese seemed confused and uncertain on the issue.
The agriculture visa has also seen a lack of support from Labor. In the lead up to the election, Labor announced it would potentially axe the visa which was to be offered to 10 South-East Asian countries to help Australian farmers harvest their crops. Instead, they plan to roll out a new agriculture stream within the existing Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme. This would replace specific visas for forestry, fishery, and farm workers. At the time of this announcement Labor did not confirm if they would honour the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Vietnam.
Labor has just started their journey in government but hopefully over the next couple of months we will have a clear indication of where migration is heading under labor.
If you would like to speak to a registered migration agent, contact the team at Visa Solutions Australia on 1800 828 008 or send us an email.