Labor MP Andrew Giles has been handed the immigration portfolio which has been relegated to the outer ministry.
“It’s an incredible honour to take on the role of Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs in the Albanese Labor Government. There’s so much work to be done, and it’s so important to who we are, and how we rebuild. Can’t wait to get started,” said Mr Giles who now holds the title of Minister for Immigration.
Mr Giles was elected to Federal Parliament in 2013 as Member for Scullin in the north of Melbourne and has been Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, his areas of interest have been stated as immigration and social policy.
During a pre-election debate between now Prime Minister Albanese and previous Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Mr Albanese said that with respect to border protection his government would also adopt the boat turnback measures that have been in force since 2013. Mr Albanese said that the “truth is that boat turnbacks have worked, I’ve said we support it. We clearly are sending that message. None of those policies will change.”
The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) is calling on the new government to deliver better conditions for refugees and people seeking safety on Australian shores.
“Minister O’Neil [Minister for Home Affairs] and Minister Giles have an important opportunity to change the way people seeking safety are treated in Australia,” said Josephine Langbien, Senior Lawyer at the HRLC.
“For too long, our policies have been driven by cruelty and fear. People fleeing persecution have lost years of their lives to abuse and mistreatment by the Australian Government. Families have been intentionally ripped apart and hundreds of children were denied safe childhoods. Fourteen people who were held in offshore detention have died under the Australian Government’s watch.”
The Human Rights Law Centre has outlined five steps that Ministers O’Neil and Giles could begin taking:
· Deliver on the Albanese Government’s promise to end the use of temporary protection and provide permanent safety to more than 19,000 people currently living in limbo on temporary protection visas. The disastrous ‘Fast Track’ system that underpinned these visas must be replaced with a fair refugee determination process that complies with international human rights standards, and people refused protection must have access to a fair process or other pathways to permanency, after living for so many years as members of the Australian community.
· Shut down offshore detention for good and provide safety, certainty and justice for every person who has suffered in Nauru or Papua New Guinea. The Australian Government’s role in the atrocities that have occurred offshore must be investigated
and those responsible must be held to account.
· Address the crisis in Australian immigration detention, where people are ripped from their families and communities and detained in prison-like conditions for an average of 697 days, with no way to challenge the fairness of their detention or their treatment while locked up.
· Bring families back together by drastically overhauling the family migration system and ending the intentional separation of refugee families. Reuniting with loved ones should be fair, fast and accessible for everyone.
· Restore and expand our humanitarian resettlement program to bring more people to safety in Australia each year, and work with our neighbouring countries to establish safe and effective pathways for people who are seeking safety.
Before entering politics Minister Giles was an employment lawyer.