Senate debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022


Asylum Seekers

1:42 pm

Photo of Nick McKimNick McKim (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Last 19 July marked nine years since the former Labor government announced that people who arrived in Australia by boat to seek asylum could not settle here and would be exiled and detained offshore. It has been nine years of imprisonment, brutality, deliberate cruelty and separation from families for thousands of people and nine years of murder, rape, child sex abuse in a system specifically designed to punish and harm innocent people. Right now there are over 200 people still in Papua New Guinea and Nauru still suffering and still in exile after nine long years.

I met this morning with three people who suffered through so many years of detention, both offshore and onshore—three very brave people: Ismail, Betelhem, and my friend Thanush, who I first met on Manus Island in 2016 and who is with us in this chamber today. It's good to see you, my brother. Their message was simple. The people left behind in Papua New Guinea and Nauru need emergency evacuation here to Australia. They need medical support, they need freedom, they need community support and they need permanent resettlement in a safe place.

The Australian Labor Party sent them to Manus Island and Nauru in the first place, and the Australian Labor Party can and must evacuate them now, immediately, and bring them to Australia. There is much, much more that we can do for these people, but immediate, urgent evacuation is the critical and urgent necessity. Bring them here and bring them here now. Nine years is far, far too long. Let's not make them wait for a single day more.