Parliament live: Greens motion for Palestinian statehood voted down by lower house MPs

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Despite growing outrage over a series of visa glitches, Anthony Albanese says he remains confident in his immigration minister.

The Coalition has stepped up its calls for the Prime Minister to sack Andrew Giles after it emerged that dozens of non-citizens with extensive criminal histories had been allowed to stay in the country.

In these cases, the Government had cancelled the visas, but the independent Administrative Appeal Tribunal overturned the decision on the basis of Mr Giles’s ‘Guideline 99’, which requires decision-makers to take into account a person’s community ties when deciding whether to cancel a visa.

During Question Time, Mr Giles confirmed that he would update Instruction 99.

“The new direction will ensure that all members of the ART take a sensible approach to visa decisions, in line with the intent of Ministerial Directive 99,” said Mr Giles.

“The primary aim is to ensure that the protection of the community takes precedence over other considerations.”

This instruction also requires decision-makers to consider the impact of their decisions on victims of crime and their families, as well as on cases of domestic violence.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton asked Mr Albanese the first question during Question Time on Wednesday, asking whether he still had confidence in Mr Giles.

“I do,” said Mr Albanese.

“As the Minister has said, he will review the recent AAT decisions.”

It has emerged that Mr Giles was not consulted by his department and he has begun an investigation into the cases.

The coalition then put its questions to Mr Giles, who agreed that “a number of the AAT’s recent decisions have lacked common sense”.

After announcing that Parliament had passed legislation to abolish the AAT and replace it with a new Administrative Review Tribunal,

According to estimates, China is not the only source of spies in Australia

Australia faces a “serious and ongoing threat” from foreign spies, including but not limited to Chinese intelligence services, a Senate hearing said.

The head of the Office of National Intelligence, Andrew Shearer, was questioned on Tuesday about a claim made by a speaker at a News Corp defence conference about the number of spies from China potentially active in Australia.

Mr Shearer said the question was better directed to the domestic intelligence service ASIO and that he could not go into “secret details”.

The former Chinese spy, who goes by the name Eric, said more than 1,200 Chinese spies – including 200 professionals – were in Australia to gather intelligence and to monitor and harass targets for the communist regime.

But Shearer told the Senate committee: “Where is Charles?”Australia has still not received an official portrait of King Charles III due to “copyright issues,” the Governor-General’s Secretary has announced.

Paul Singer said at a hearing that the country would soon receive an official painting of the king, 388 days after his coronation.

“There have been recent discussions with the palace about having a photograph taken for this purpose. And I expect that will be made available shortly,” he told the senators.

Mr Singer did not confirm whether the royal would visit Australia in the coming months, citing his recent cancer diagnosis.

“Given the current situation and the reality surrounding the King’s health, I think it would be unwise to have expectations until the program is completed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Australia’s future Governor-General Samanth Mostyn will meet the King in London on Wednesday.

“This audience with His Majesty is a significant occasion for Mrs Mostyn,” said Mr Singer.

“We know that the King has a great interest and commitment to Australian affairs and will be very interested to hear directly from Ms Mostyn about her own observations and her own intentions for her tenure as Governor-General.”

She is due to take up the role in Canberra on 1 July and preparations for the transition are underway.

Mr Singer said outgoing Governor-General David Hurley would have an audience with the King in July.

Greens fail with Gaza proposal

Adam Bandt, the leader of the Green Party, took the floor and requested that the Rules of Procedure be suspended in order to debate his motion that the Federal Government should recognize the State of Palestine.

The decision comes against a backdrop of growing political tensions over Australia’s response to the war in Gaza, which have escalated after at least 45 civilians were killed in an Israeli air strike on a makeshift refugee camp on Sunday night.

In his speech on Wednesday, Bandt called on MPs to support what he called a “crucial step” towards bringing peace to the conflict-ridden region.

“Palestine is now because of the scale … and the genocide that we are seeing now exceeds 36,000 people or 36,000 civilians who have been slaughtered,” Bandt said.

“The health system has been destroyed. There are mass graves in the hospitals. Aid has been blocked. Children are now dying because they do not have enough to eat and drink.”

“We are currently experiencing a man-made famine that is taking such a heavy toll on the civilian population that it amounts to a collective punishment of those people.

“It is time for countries like Australia to step in and take action, just as other countries have made it a priority to recognise the State of Palestine.”

Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather supported the motion, accusing Labor politicians of being “complicit” in the genocide and accusing Australia of supplying weapons to Israel.

Deputy Secretary of State Tim Watts said the smaller party had deliberately set up a plan to thwart the vote.

“The Greens had the opportunity to select this motion for debate at a specific time on Monday, but chose not to,” Watts said.

“Foreign Minister Penny Wong made clear statements last month about the government’s approach to the recognition of Palestine.

“This is the same approach that the Greens want to exploit for votes – simplistic, divisive motions in the House of Representatives that do nothing for the cause of peace.”

The vote saw 80 votes against and five in favour, with independent MP Andrew Wilkie voting with the Greens.

Thousands of Palestinians denied visas

Australian Home Affairs officials confirmed that fewer than 40 percent of Palestinians fleeing violence in the Middle East have been allowed to enter Australia under the visa class allocated to them by the government.

The government of Albania began issuing visitor visas to people from the Gaza Strip last year, allowing them to stay in Australia for up to 12 months and apply for protection upon arrival.

According to official figures, 2,686 visas were issued and 4,614 were rejected.

Since October 7, only 1,010 people from the occupied Palestinian territories have arrived in Australia.

This revelation came during questioning by Green Senator David Shoebridge, who pointed out that this was a significant increase since the March statistics.

Officials said they had given priority to those who had family members in Australia.

Senator Shoebridge said that people seeking temporary refuge from suspected genocide were being denied visas.

Labor Senator Murray Watt, who represents the government in the budget estimates, said the government was committed to carrying out the necessary checks.

There’s more to come

Read related topics:Anthony AlbaneseImmigration

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