Senate debates

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Statements by Senators


1:56 pm

Photo of Lidia ThorpeLidia Thorpe (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

In this budget, the Albanese government has shown yet again that it does not care about refugees. It cares even less about the human rights of people seeking asylum. Never underestimate the capacity of the Labor Party to disappoint. In no policy area is this statement more true than in regard to refugee and immigration policy. While claiming that this budget won't leave anyone behind, there is absolutely nothing in there for people seeking asylum—not a single mention. I welcome the targeted support measures that will positively support people seeking asylum and support refugees, but the Albanese government continues the Morrison government's punitive approach to, and disgracefully poor social supports for, people seeking asylum. These limited measures aren't anywhere near Labor's election commitments and don't go nearly far enough to tackle the unfair, unjust, unequal and frankly violent system that this colonial government enforces on people seeking safety.

The Albanese government will spend a staggering $6 billion over the next four years to maintain a cruel and dehumanising immigration detention system, with a lot of this money going to private security and prison companies who have no regard for human rights and torture people who are simply trying to keep themselves and their families alive. If this Labor government wants to show it has any integrity and respect for human rights, it will commit to its election promises to increase our humanitarian intake, expand social support services and close the violent, torturous and shockingly expensive immigration detention— (Time expired)

1:58 pm

Photo of Raff CicconeRaff Ciccone (Victoria, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last night, the Albanese Labor government delivered a budget that sets stronger foundations for a better future. Treasurer Jim Chalmers presented to the Australian people a budget that provided cost-of-living relief, delivered historic investment to Medicare and the care economy, broadened opportunities, laid the foundations for growth and strengthened our budget. In addition to that, what we have seen this week is that, instead of supporting the budget, those opposite—the Liberals, the Nationals and, sadly, the Australian Greens—have all decided to justify an unjustifiable opposition to the Albanese government's Housing Australia Future Fund. The absolute hypocrisy of those opposite, especially those on the crossbench—they come into this place and argue that we need to do more for social and affordable housing, but they continue to oppose this $10 billion fund, the single biggest investment by any federal government in social and affordable housing in a decade.

It is hardly surprising that the coalition is in this position, but I'm disappointed the Australian Greens, who love to stand in this place to use clips on their social media, are now the ones who are blocking this reform from being passed. You would have thought that they would be supportive of this investment to help thousands of vulnerable Australians. But what we find with the Australian Greens—particularly their spokesperson in the other place, who is opposed to 1,300 new affordable homes and social housing in his own electorate. He's running a campaign with the support of local Greens councillors in Sydney and Brisbane who are opposed to affordable housing. It is shameful that the Australian Greens are blocking this key reform to help thousands of vulnerable Australians to have a roof over their heads.

Debate adjourned.