House debates

Monday, 18 February 2019

Statements by Members

Immigration Detention

1:42 pm

Photo of Kerryn PhelpsKerryn Phelps (Wentworth, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

It was heartening over the weekend that the response in my electorate to the passage of last week's emergency medical transfers bill was overwhelmingly positive. The people of Wentworth are compassionate, engaged and principled. They can see through the deliberate misinformation campaign currently being waged by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Home Affairs and the Attorney-General. In this spirit, I note the following from a White House transcript of the phone call between former member for Wentworth and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and United States President Donald Trump on 28 January 2017. The topic of the discussion was the transfer deal struck between Mr Turnbull and the US President Barack Obama for the transfer of refugees from Australia's offshore processing centres to the United States. Mr Turnbull said:

We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in.

…   …   …

It is not because they are bad people.

Now we read in today's Daily Telegraph a claim that half of those refugees held in offshore processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru still do not have their identities confirmed and one in six checks so far have a red flag. Both of these things cannot be true. It really does appear that the current government cannot help itself when trying to score political points at the expense of refugees and people seeking asylum.

I'm proud to continue the fine tradition of moderate, small-L liberalism in the seat of Wentworth. I told the people of Wentworth that I would work to help get kids off Nauru and for the humane treatment of people seeking asylum. (Time expired)