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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Elliot defends Labor support for government bills

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ALP federal member for Richmond, Justine Elliot.
ALP federal member for Richmond, Justine Elliot.


Hans Lovejoy

With a plethora of legislation passing through parliament before the winter break, The Echo asked  Labor’s federal  MP for Richmond, Justine Elliot, how she voted – or intends to vote – on some of the more contentious bills.

Ms Elliot began by saying, ‘In terms of all the issues you’ve raised I fully support Labor’s position on all of them.’

Migration bill

‘The purpose of the ­Migration Amendment (Regional Processing Arrangements) Bill 2015 is to ensure the Australian government has clear legislative authority for expenditure to support regional processing and to provide assistance to the governments of Nauru and PNG in the implementation of offshore processing.’

After the former Labor government implemented the 2013 Regional Resettlement Arrangement with Papua New Guinea, Ms Elliot says, ‘we [saw] an end to the tragic loss of life at sea and this is unquestionably a good thing.’

The member for Richmond also believes that the new bill does ‘not in any way, change or expand Australia’s existing regional processing and resettlement arrangements.’

But according to the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), ‘the last-minute Bill seeking to head-off court action challenging the federal government’s power to fund offshore detention facilities is unconscionable.’

ALA spokesperson Greg Barns says the retrospective nature of the bill was abominable, given it has been ‘demonstrated that there is under-reporting of sexual abuse of children.’

But Ms Elliot gave assurances that Labor’s support for this legislation ‘does not mean we support, or in any way condone, the Abbott government’s treatment of asylum seekers in the processing centres in Nauru and PNG.’

‘Labor will continue to hold the Abbott government to account for its heavy-handed treatment of asylum seekers, particularly given its woeful track record when it comes to transparency over its policies. We will continue to advocate for asylum seekers to be treated in a dignified, humane manner and housed in a safe environment with access to health, education and social services.’

National security

‘There is nothing more important than keeping Australians safe,’ Ms Elliot said in reference to proposed amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.

‘That’s why Labor has consistently taken a constructive, bipartisan approach to matters of national security.

‘The plans have gained much media attention owing to the laws stripping citizenship rights from dual nationals involved in terrorism at home or abroad. But the proposal has also gained criticism with the inclusion of revoking citizenship of dual nationals that damage government property.

‘In terms of citizenship, Labor has been clear [that] any dual citizen taking arms against Australia should be stripped of their citizenship.

‘Now this legislation has finally been introduced into the parliament, Labor will work through the legislation in a bipartisan, constructive manner. This legislation has also been referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security to be examined.

Online copyright

‘[After] Labor consulted extensively with Australian artists, musicians, filmmakers and others involved in our creative industries, as well as with consumer groups, Labor believes that action is needed to reduce current levels of online piracy in Australia.

‘The enforcement of copyright law is vital to our creative industries. Online piracy damages our economy and destroys Australian jobs.’

Mrs Elliot says the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 plays a part in addressing the problem of online piracy, ‘but includes safeguards to ensure the new measures will not have unintended consequences for legitimate internet activities.’

‘The Bill allows the federal court to require Australian ISPs to block a website hosted overseas if the court is satisfied that the website’s primary purpose is to infringe copyright or facilitate the infringement of copyright.

‘The Bill does not provide for any sort of internet “filter”.

‘Labor closely scrutinised, the provisions of the Bill in the senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee to ensure the Bill would not restrict legitimate internet activities.

‘Labor does not support the use of site-blocking against Virtual Private Network (VPN) services and we have made sure that this Bill does not allow for VPNs to be blocked. We are satisfied that VPNs, which have a range of legitimate uses, would not meet the ‘primary purpose’ test required by the Bill.

‘However, to avoid any doubt, we have asked the government to revise the Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum to make this clear.’

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  1. “After the former Labor government implemented the 2013 Regional Resettlement Arrangement with Papua New Guinea, Ms Elliot says, ‘we [saw] an end to the tragic loss of life at sea and this is unquestionably a good thing.”
    Sorry Ms. Elliott, they are dying elsewhere. Also drownings being replaced by abuse in the concentration camps that ALP/LNP established. Also I note that transparency of abuse has been further denied with the help of ALP. Does that protect our borders?

    “There is nothing more important than keeping Australians safe” I suggest that invasion of middle east countries by NATO & Australia has made us less safe (acknowledged by MI6/CIA). Also the political dog-whistling regarding muslims that has been going on is exacerbating the situation. If you decide to vote for extra-judicial banishment I shall NEVER vote ALP again.

    “The enforcement of copyright law is vital to our creative industries” I somehow do not think so! People are reacting to 1. Hollywood’s Old fashioned business plan… build a requirement then with hold the satisfaction so we can scam more via the “Australian Premium” we all pay.
    It has been shown that the majority of people are happy to pay “world parity pricing” if they are able to get the films etc. at same time as USA etc. You have done no more than cave into the US corporates.

    One final thing (not mentioned in the article): What is ALP position on TPP & ISDS provisions….. not so much trade as corporate control. My “extra-judicial banishment” position above also applies to the TPP. Multi-national corporates have full sight of the treaties but we plebs (including members of our legislature) have no or restricted sight. Any treaty negotiated in this manner should be rejected out of hand.

  2. Damaging government property could mean almost anything. Are the Australian people choosing to turn their country into an illiberal democracy?


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