House debates

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Statements by Members

Petition: Asylum Seekers

1:52 pm

Photo of Andrew WilkieAndrew Wilkie (Denison, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to present a petition in condemnation of the so-called Malaysia solution. It was compiled by Amnesty International and has been found by the House of Representative Standing Committee on Petitions to be in accordance with the standing orders.

The petition read as follows—

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives,

This petition, by concerned citizens, draws to the attention of the House :

That Malaysia has not signed the UN Refugee Convention and does not offer genuine protection to refugees or asylum seekers. Amnesty International research shows that in Malaysia these vulnerable people are subjected to inhumane detention conditions, torture and serious abuse.

As a signatory country, Australia must fully uphold its obligation to protect refugees.

We therefore call upon the House to stop plans to expel 800 asylum seekers from Australia to Malaysia.

from 1,821 citizens

Petition received.

I have spoken in this place before to voice my strong opposition to the government's unethical and unnecessary plan to trade asylum seekers with Malaysia, and today I add the voices of more than 1,800 Australians to my objection. Vulnerable people, including unaccompanied minors, will be sent to Malaysia under this agreement and in doing so Australia will breach its international obligations under the refugee convention as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

With this petition I call again on the government to not trade people with Malaysia and instead to heed the plea of the many Australians demanding we live up to our moral and legal obligations—in other words, to protect those who seek asylum, process them on the Australian mainland and give them refuge if their claims are upheld. To paraphrase a line I heard on television last night: I love this country; I just sometimes don't recognise it anymore.