Senate debates

Thursday, 28 February 2013


Suspension of Standing Orders

3:01 pm

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Thankfully, people like Russell Broadbent and Mal Washer are willing to speak up against this type of hatred—unlike Senator Abetz who, when he arrived this morning, suggested that, because asylum seekers might not have proper language skills or had perhaps been traumatised by their experiences in their home countries, they are so much of a risk to the community that they should be on a community alert list. Senator Abetz this morning said:

… I would have thought it'd be a good idea to say that somebody's moving next door to you that might not be able to have all the language skills that you might normally expect, or that they come from a traumatised background.

What is next? How low are the coalition prepared to go in their vilification of innocent people? Trying to tar all refugees and asylum seekers because it suits the opposition's politics of the day is simply revolting.

One of the reasons it is important that this parliament make a very clear statement that we will reject the vilification of refugees and asylum seekers is that the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, would not himself do this today. He has, yes, refused to rein Mr Morrison in. Despite the fact that Senator Abetz was right there, willing to gee him up, spread the hate and stoke the fire, Mr Abbott has not yet decided to speak out clearly against this type of hatred. It is time he did. It is important we vote on this today because it is things like this which contribute to the type of community, the type of society, we are. If we have elected representatives whipping up fear—fearmongering, spreading hate and asking people to do it with them—then shame on them. This parliament needs to make a very clear statement that we will not accept the vilification of refugees and asylum seekers. (Time expired)


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