House debates

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Statements by Members

Immigration Detention

1:36 pm

Photo of Peter KhalilPeter Khalil (Wills, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

This week I met with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, a wonderful organisation that does great work for asylum seekers and refugees in our communities. We know that the government has released 135 medevac detainees from detention. That's great, and we thank the government for that step. The fact is, though, that there are still 120 in detention, and I call on the government to do the right thing and release these detainees into the community. There is no particular rhyme or reason as to why they continue to remain in detention. There's no clear reason, whether it be a security vetting issue or any other issue, as to why these 120 have remained in detention.

The ASRC has informed me—and, quite clearly, this is a very good news aspect to this story, apart from their release from detention—that many of these detainees are already working. They are so keen to get out there and contribute to our society after being so long in detention. That is something that we should be encouraging. They want to contribute to our society, they want to work and they want to make a difference. There is no reason that the remaining 120 should remain in detention. To those people who remain in detention who might be listening, I say: we will continue to advocate on your behalf. To the five women and all the men who remain in detention, I say: we will be your voice.