By Oliver Laughland
Tuesday 22 July 2014
The immigration minister has issued a permanent protection visa to an unaccompanied minor who fled Ethiopia and arrived in Australia by boat, in a major backflip that could have ramifications for other asylum seekers in Australia.
Since the Coalition government came to power in September, Scott Morrison has aggressively stated it would not issue permanent visas to asylum seekers who arrive by boat in Australia and has attempted to cap the number of permanent visas it offers.
But he has now issued a visa to the 15-year-old boy whose case led to a high court ruling that such a cap was invalid.
After the ruling, Morrison had initially indicated he would still not grant the boy a permanent visa, and had appeared intent upon getting around the ruling by introducing a new public interest test in July.
Morrison said following the ruling: “The policy of the Australian government is that those who arrived illegally by boat or plane … should only be granted a temporary visa.