House debates

Monday, 8 February 2016

Statements by Members

Asylum Seekers

4:37 pm

Photo of Adam BandtAdam Bandt (Melbourne, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise in parliament to applaud the churches and people of Melbourne who are offering asylum and protection to the babies, children and their families who are here and are being threatened with deportation to Nauru. I rise in parliament to support the staff at the Royal Children's Hospital in my electorate who are saying they will not put children who are here for medical treatment back in detention, because it may harm them. I rise to support all those people who are risking jail by speaking out and coming together and saying to the government something that it does not want to hear: that putting children, young babies and their families into prison—into detention—is abuse.

The government and Labor will say that somehow this kind of child abuse is necessary to stop deaths at sea. That is untrue. If the government was really concerned about stopping people risking their lives in desperate boat journeys, we would provide safer pathways and start taking people in real numbers out of the camps in Indonesia and Malaysia and bringing them here.

There is talk about the people-smugglers' business model. It is based on desperation. It is based on the desperation from spending years in the camp, knowing that you are a genuine refugee, but seeing countries like Australia not taking people. When that happens, these people risk their lives. The people of Australia, the churches, the staff at the hospital and those who are speaking out risking jail represent the true face of Australia that knows there is a better way than putting children into prison. (Time expired)