Senate debates

Tuesday, 7 February 2023


Instrument of Designation of the Republic of Nauru as a Regional Processing Country

5:09 pm

Photo of David PocockDavid Pocock (ACT, Independent) Share this | Hansard source

For me, the things we have heard from colleagues in here really just show how polarising this debate is. It's very hard to have a nuanced debate about something like this which is clearly such an important issue for Australia. It touches on so many things, as we heard: human rights, national security and how we be a good neighbour and a good part of the international community.

The thing I am hearing from Canberrans and other people I talk to is that they want us to be able to have that debate. If you say that you want a kinder refugee policy, people say, 'You just want to open the floodgates and let everyone in.' We have to move past that. We are a resourceful, smart country. We have to look at dealing with refugees in a way that is going to ensure that people aren't dying on boats trying to get here and we also have to be looking after people and affording them some dignity. These are people who are desperate and seeking a better life, given what they are facing in their home countries.

The other thing which really makes this debate so important is, if we look to the future with climate change, there are clearly going to be a lot more refugees around the world. Australia is going to have to deal with that. So I welcome debate about our refugee policy, and I really hope to move to a more humane policy—


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