The Australian Parliament might be shifting. Not anywhere near enough. But something is better than nothing when people are suffering purely because of the decision-making of Australian politicians. Andrew Wilkie (IND), Adam Bandt (Greens) and Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance) have introduced the
which seeks to amend the Migration Act 1958 to require the temporary transfer of children and their families from offshore detention to Australia for the purpose of medical or psychiatric assessment.
(click link in Bill title above to read/download Bill
and click on link following to read / download ‘Explanatory Memorandum”)
“The Labor party has got to move on this and the government has got to move. We need a bipartisan solution.”
Many beyond the major parties have been advocating for this for some time but the shift may have begun to move towards are solution because at least three Liberal MPs – Russell Broadbent, Craig Laundy and Julia Banks – last week demanded that Prime Minister Scott Morrison get children off Nauru.
The ABC reported that a week ago the government was planning to call for a vote on legislation that would guarantee anyone transferred to New Zealand – should Australia agree to the offer from NZ PM Ardern – would prevent asylum seekers who arrived by boat after mid-2013 from applying from NZ for an Australian visa. And while Opposition frontbencher Tony Burke has said that there are deep problems with a bill that would see resettled refugees on Nauru banned from ever entering Australia, reports today are that Labor might now be prepared to agree to a New Zealand travel ban to get children off Nauru. However when Labor proposed some amendments to the government’s bill today, Scott Morrison rejected the Opposition’s offer saying “you don’t horse-trade on border protection.”
Getting children and their families off Nauru is a first step. We must continue to push for that. But we must all continue to demand that Australia must liberate all people seeking asylum from offshore detention and take action to provide the support these people needs as a result of their need to seek refuge AND because of the impact of Australia’s treatment on them.
But it must start somewhere.
Please contact Australia’s Parliamentary representatives to urge them to make this first step an immediately really. KIDS OFF NAURU!
And if/when this begins with one important step, it must not end until Australia abolishes any kind of mandatory detention for people seeking asylum. There are better way to treat people – ways that maintain the safety and security of Australian citizens, cost significantly less and have far fewer negative health impacts on those held indefinitely. That’s called a win-win. And Australia has always loved to win.