Visa privatisation continues
Home Affairs is moving ahead with plans to privatise the visa processing system.
Just before the Federal Government officially called the election, the Department of Home Affairs launched the next stage of its tender process for selling the visa processing system.
There are just two bidders – the first is Australia Visa Processing Consortium led by Scott Briggs, who has connections to both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Immigration Minister David Coleman.
There is also a second bid from Accenture and Australia Post in a joint venture.
The main public sector union has described the timing as “sneaky”.
“The government is doing everything it possibly can to make sure the public doesn’t find out about their plans, and that the parliament isn’t able to properly scrutinise them,” Community and Public Sector Union assistant national secretary Michael Tull said.
“Putting out the second phase of this process on a Friday afternoon, immediately after Home Affairs has appeared before estimates and possibly hours before a federal election is called, isn’t just sneaky.
“It shows the government is only interested in doing backroom deals that benefit their mates in the private sector, and has nothing but contempt for voters.”
Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo says the process could be scuttled by an incoming government.
“The department has chosen to include specific provisions in the RFT [request for tender] documents addressing the impact of the caretaker period and caretaker guidelines,” Mr Pezzullo said.
“The RFT phase-two process does not bind an incoming government including because the decision to proceed is explicitly subject to further departmental and Australian government decision making after RFT phase two.”