Monday, 12 September 2016
Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee; Reference
I inform the chamber that Senator McKim will also sponsor the motion. I seek leave to amend business of the Senate notice of motion No. 2 standing in my name and in the name of Senator McKim for today.
I move the motion as amended.
(1) That the following matter be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by the last sitting day in March 2017:
The serious allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect of asylum seekers in relation to the Nauru Regional Processing Centre, and any like allegations in relation to the Manus Regional Processing Centre, with particular reference to:
(a) the factors that have contributed to the abuse and self-harm alleged to have occurred;
(b) how notifications of abuse and self-harm are investigated;
(c) the obligations of the Commonwealth Government and contractors relating to the treatment of asylum seekers, including the provision of support, capability and capacity building to local authorities;
(d) the provision of support services for asylum seekers who have been alleged or been found to have been subject to abuse, neglect or self-harm in the centres or within the community;
(e) the role an independent children’s advocate could play in ensuring the rights and interests of unaccompanied minors are protected,
(f) the effect of Part 6 of the Australian Border Force Act 2015;
(g) attempts by the Commonwealth Government to negotiate third country resettlement of asylum seekers and refugees;
(h) additional measures that could be implemented to expedite third country resettlement of asylum seekers and refugees within the centres; and
(i) any other related matters.
(2) That the committee be granted access to all inquiry submissions and documents of the preceding committee relating to its inquiry into the conditions and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees at the regional processing centres in the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
The government will not waver in our commitment to the strong and consistent border protection policies that have stopped the boats and prevented deaths at sea. Regional processing is vital to ensuring our borders remain secure. We have seen the disastrous consequences of weak border protection policies. The naive mistakes of Labor and the Greens saw 50,000 people arrive on more than 800 boats. The human impact was tragic with at least 1200 men, women and children losing their lives at sea. We continue to deal with the legacy of these mistakes to this day. Our border protection policies will not change. No-one in regional processing centres will be resettled in Australia.