Monday, 25 November 2019
Statements by Members
Chau, Mr Van Kham
Today members of Australia's Vietnamese community have come to Canberra to draw attention to the incarceration in Vietnam of Australian citizen Van Kham Chau, who, earlier this month, was convicted of national security offences. Seventy-year-old Van Kham Chau, who is a pro-democracy and human rights campaigner, was sentenced to 12 years jail after having been denied natural justice by being denied legal representation until shortly before his trial. Again without legal representation, Van Kham Chau has now lodged an appeal against his conviction, which may be heard before Christmas. His elderly mother, his wife, his children and his wider family and friends are understandably concerned about his deteriorating health and future wellbeing. Indeed, I understand he has been hospitalised on two occasions since being in detention.
Australia and Vietnam have a strong and growing bilateral relationship that both countries will increasingly benefit from. I call on the Morrison government to provide Van Kham Chau with all of the diplomatic and consular assistance available to him, and I call on the Vietnamese government to honour its human rights obligations and ensure that Van Kham Chau gets full legal representation and a fair trial.