Monday, 26 October 2020
Statements by Members
I was delighted and privileged to meet with year 11 students from Marrara Christian College recently. These bright, passionate young Australians are driven to be good local and international citizens, which reflects their deep ethical and spiritual mentoring at such a great Northern Territory school. They were eager to hear that the Australian government had proactively shaped international law on refugees after World War II, but they asked some hard questions, to which I did not always have thorough answers. They were angry about the treatment of asylum seekers like the Biloela family taken in 2018, despite local support, including Priya and Nades, who are now growing up on Christmas Island. They wondered why we wouldn't do away with indefinite detention and why more humanity couldn't be shown to those seeking asylum.
These are good questions, and while all in this place profess to support the principle of reducing harm, these students urge us to check our hearts for numbness to suffering. They understood the need for secure borders and that also, as student Bethany Sparkes said, 'in a globalised world sharing responsibility for global issues is the fair thing to do'. The students were excellent. (Time expired)