Hong Kong

09 July 2020

Today’s announcement will be a relief for many Hong Kong citizens in Australia on temporary visas who now have a pathway to stay in our country - and Labor welcomes this.

However, it is quite clear that promises Scott Morrison made last week were not delivered today. Under this announcement:

  • many in Australia and Hong Kong would be ineligible for the pathways proposed.
  • there is no capacity for family reunion for the 100,000 people from Hong Kong who have settled in Australia,
  • many of whom would still have family members in Hong Kong.
  • no clarity has been provided about how Hong Kong citizens applying for visas would, or could, be allowed into Australia given the current pandemic and border restrictions.

The Chinese Government’s decision to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong has directly undermined the One Country, Two Systems arrangement to which Beijing is committed under the UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration.

These new laws will significantly curtail Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms, and will see the crime of “subversion” punished with life imprisonment.

Since this legislation emerged, Labor has been calling on the Morrison Government to act with compassion and make clear to citizens of Hong Kong how existing visa arrangements can be used to respond to these developments.

Helping the people of Hong Kong is the right thing to do, but this announcement lacks clarity and leaves many behind.

Following passage of the legislation which effectively ended Hong Kong’s independent legal status, Labor called for the urgent review of Australia’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong. We now welcome the Government’s decision to suspend this treaty.

It is always in Australia’s interest to uphold the international rules-based system – particularly in our region.


Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.