Senate debates

Thursday, 19 June 2014


World Refugee Day

12:27 pm

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

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) acknowledges that 20 June 2014 is World Refugee Day, when all nations recognise the resilience and humanity of forcibly displaced people around the world;

(b) notes the vast and positive contribution that refugees have made and continue to make to Australian society;

(c) reaffirms Australia's strong commitment to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol in recognition of the need to restore hope to those seeking protection in our region; and

(d) calls on the Government to:

(ii) be more transparent and open about the conditions and circumstances experienced by asylum seekers in immigration detention centres controlled by the Australian Government,

(ii) establish independent and systematic monitoring of sites of immigration detention, and

(iii) take steps to prevent further incidents and improve safety and conditions for asylum seekers in immigration detention centres.

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—Australia has a long and proud history as a refugee resettlement country and as a cooperative international partner in sharing the responsibility for refugee protection. It is only right that this generous and ongoing humanitarian commitment is acknowledged through events like Refugee Week. Refugee Week also provides an opportunity to recognise the plight of refugees around the world and acknowledge the contribution made by a range of government and non-government organisations in helping refugees contribute to Australian society. It was therefore disappointing but hardly surprising to see an eleventh-hour amendment to this motion by Senator Hanson-Young in an attempt to score cheap political points at the expense of what could have been a tripartite motion celebrating the rich diversity of refugee communities throughout Australia. The government will not be supporting the amended motion.

Photo of John HoggJohn Hogg (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the motion moved by Senator Hanson-Young be agreed to.