House debates

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Governor-General's Speech

Vietnam: Environment

1:30 pm

Photo of Chris HayesChris Hayes (Fowler, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Since last month, dead fish have been washing up on the shores of Vietnam, from the Ha Tinh province down to the Hue province, and it is now spreading down to Da Nang city. The evidence suggests that this is the result of a toxic waste discharge from the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation, a Taiwanese company operating in the Vung Ang industrial zone. The result of this is that local fishermen have now lost a lot of their work and their livelihoods have been compromised, for which there is no compensation.

Tuan Anh Nguyen, who is a member of the Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment, VOICE, and was also an intern in my office earlier this year, has been working with the local community, assisting them by providing temporary relief and aid. Tuan has also been working to report on this dire situation through blog sites and social media. I am advised that, over the past two weeks, Tuan has been monitored by the authorities and has been ordered to remain in the vicinity of his local church. There remains a real concern that if he leaves he will, once again, be detained.

I understand that many protestors who are seeking to raise awareness of this environmental disaster have already been detained. Once again, there appears to be a situation where the authorities are targeting those who advocate the truth rather than those who have caused real harm to the environment and the community.


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