Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Human Rights Day
I, and also on behalf of Senator McKim, move:
That the Senate—
(a) acknowledges that 10 December 2017 is Human Rights Day which represents the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly which established the equal dignity and worth of every person;
(b) recognises that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights represents a milestone document in the history of human rights which proclaimed the inalienable rights that everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status;
(c) observes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted by representatives of diverse legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world and sets out universal values and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations;
(d) notes that:
(i) children, as well as adults, have human rights and children also have the right to special protection because of their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse,
(ii) December also commemorates Australia's ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, and
(iii) Australia's ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child means that Australia has a duty to ensure that all children in its care enjoy the rights set out in the treaty;
(e) further notes that:
(i) it has been over three years since the publication of 'The Forgotten Children' report—the report revealed that the prolonged, mandatory detention of asylum seeker children causes them significant mental and physical illness and developmental delays,
(ii) at the time of the report's publication there were 132 children in detention in Nauru and 39 children remain in detention in Nauru, according to the Government's statistics, published on 31 October 2017,
(iii) section 4AA(1) of the Migration Act 1958 explicitly states that 'a minor shall only be detained as a measure of last resort', and
(iv) whilst the Government has reduced the number of children in detention, the fact that children remain in detention in unacceptable; and
(f) calls on the Government, as a matter of urgency, to end the prolonged and mandatory detention of asylum seeker children in Nauru.
by leave—I move the amendment circulated in the chamber:
Omit paragraphs (e) and (f), substitute:
(e) further notes that:
(i) it has been over three years since the publication of The Forgotten Children report. The report revealed that the prolonged, mandatory detention of asylum seeker children causes them significant mental and physical illness and developmental delays, and
(ii) refugee children should not be detained in offshore processing centres for prolonged periods and should be resettled in third countries as soon as possible; and
(f) calls on the Turnbull Government to immediately accept New Zealand's offer to resettle refugees from Manus Island and Nauru and begin negotiating appropriate conditions, similar to the United States refugee resettlement agreement, to ensure people smugglers do not exploit vulnerable people and eligible refugees, particularly women and children, are resettled in third countries as soon as possible.
Question agreed to.
The government does not support this motion. The motion has no basis in fact. There are no children in detention in Nauru. The coalition government is very proud of the fact that we removed all children from detention. It is worth remembering that 8,000 children were detained because of the disastrous border protection policies of Labor and the Greens in government. It is also worth remembering that 1,200 men, women and children drowned at sea under the policies of Labor and the Greens. The coalition government's strong and consistent border protection policies have saved lives, and they will not be changing.