Senate debates

Thursday, 28 February 2013


Suspension of Standing Orders

3:24 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration) Share this | Hansard source

Or to reject the vilification. The last time I checked, the Australian government takes the vilification of anybody in this country exceptionally seriously. We have a number of laws in place that specifically prohibit this type of behaviour. Further, the head of the United Nations acknowledges that Australia has the most generous humanitarian settlement services program in the world. I, for one, am exceptionally proud of that fact. It was the former Howard government that took steps to increase the number of people who come to Australia under this program. It was the former Howard government that added additional funds to this program. To say that in any way the opposition condones the vilification of asylum seekers and refugees is clearly not borne out by the facts. It may be borne out by the histrionics of the Greens but, when you take a step back and look at the facts, it is clearly not the case.

Merely because the shadow minister for immigration raises a concern with what is an exceptionally serious incident does not mean that he and the opposition are racist. It means that, following a certain incident, we have grave concerns for the people of western Sydney who I know consistently raise these issues with members of the coalition. The Greens want to try to shut down the debate on the issue that Australia has with asylum seekers. The Greens do not like Australia having strong border protection laws. That is anathema to the Greens.

Whenever the shadow minister for immigration raises a serious concern with government policy or response to an incident in the community, it does not matter how practical his comments are. He is almost immediately vilified by the Greens. The Greens are the party who would say to the Australian people, 'We believe in freedom of speech but we find the comments of the shadow minister for immigration offensive.' That is absolutely hypocritical, to say the least. All that the shadow minister for immigration has done is highlight what is now an issue with the government's policy and the fact that it needs to be reviewed.


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