On behalf of the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, I rise to make a statement on the Ending Indefinite and Arbitrary Immigration Detention Bill 2021 in discharge of the committee’s requirement to provide an advisory report on the bill and to present the minutes of proceedings.
The SPEAKER: The member for Fisher has the call.
Mr WALLACE: On behalf of the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, I rise to present this statement to discharge the committee’s obligation to report on the Ending Indefinite and Arbitrary Immigration Detention Bill 2021, pursuant to standing order 143(c). On 24 February the House adopted the report of the Selection Committee referring the bill to the social policy and legal affairs committee for inquiry and report. The bill provides that alternatives to immigration detention are used in preference to immigration detention. In considering the bill this committee has noted that immigration is not considered to be within its purview. The Speaker’s schedule of annual reports of government departments and agencies does not refer the immigration and border related functions of the Home Affairs portfolio to the committee, and the committee does not have a history of inquiring into matters relating directly to immigration. Further, the committee has noted that the Joint Standing Committee on Migration is established to inquire into and report on the Migration Act 1958 and other matters relating to migration.
The committee’s view, therefore, is that the Joint Standing Committee on Migration is the appropriate committee to review the bill. I’ve written to the chair of the migration committee, the member for Berowra, outlining the committee’s view in this regard. The committee proposes that the Selection Committee may wish to consider re-referring the bill to the migration committee for an advisory report.
Finally, I note that this is not the first instance of the Selection Committee referring a bill to this committee for an advisory report where, in fact, another committee was better placed to conduct an inquiry into the bill. In 2012 the then chair of this committee, the member for Moreton, expressed to the House the committee’s concern about the process by which the Selection Committee determines the most appropriate committee to which to refer a bill. The committee encourages the Selection Committee to review this process to ensure that referrals of bills to committees are made with due regard to the areas of responsibility of each committee. I thank the House. I seek leave to present a copy of my statement.