The following is the Motion that was carried in the ACT Legislative Assembly on Thursday 24th August 2017:
MOTION IN THE ACT LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY re MANUS ISLAND AND NAURU
For Thursday 24th August 2017
Shane Rattenbury, MLA to move – That this Assembly:
- Acknowledges the ACT Government’s ongoing commitment to upholding the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers, by reaffirming that:
- The ACT is the only Australian state or territory to have declared itself a Refugee Welcome Zone, and is one of 148 Refugee Welcome Zones across Australia – including councils and shires from every state. As a Refugee Welcome Zone we welcome refugees in our community, act to uphold their human rights, demonstrate compassion for refugees, and work to enhance our cultural and religious diversity; and
- The ACT is proud to be part of the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa Scheme. This underlines the commitment of both the ACT Government and the broader community to welcoming and supporting refugees and asylum seekers.
- Notes that:
- The Manus Island detention facility and the Nauru Regional Processing Centre have been unequivocally shown, via multiple reports from reputable sources, including the United Nations, to be extremely unsafe and inappropriate places, yet over 2000 refugees – including 169 children – have been imprisoned for four years in these inhumane and degrading conditions;
- Refugees in these processing centres have been subjected to violent attacks, sexual violence, inadequate medical care, and harassment involving mothers, fathers and children as young as six;
- The United Nations has repeatedly criticised Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers including by saying: “The consensus among medical experts is that conditions of detention and offshore processing do immense damage to physical and mental health” and “[T]he Rapporteur concludes that there is substance in the allegations… that the Government of Australia, by failing to provide adequate detention conditions; end the practice of detention of children; and put a stop to the escalating violence and tension at the Regional Processing Centre, has violated the right of the asylum seekers, including children, to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment…”;
- On 8 August 2017, the UNHCR said it is “is gravely concerned by deteriorating conditions at the Manus Island ‘Regional Processing Centre’, as authorities seek to relocate people to Lorengau or elsewhere in Papua New Guinea. The announcement of the closure of the Centre, in the absence of appropriate alternatives, is causing acute distress among refugees and asylum-seekers”; and
- It is past time for this damaging, cruel and inhumane policy to end.
- Writes to the Federal Government, requesting that it:
- Immediately removes all refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru; and
- Brings all refugees and asylum seekers to Australia to be resettled in Australia’s 148 Refugee Welcome Zones where they can build new lives within this network of compassionate and caring communities committed to upholding their rights.
- Declares that: The ACT Government is willing and ready to settle refugees and asylum seekers from Manus and Nauru in Canberra as part of a national program of resettlement.
The Motion was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly on Thursday 24th August – by Shane Rattenbury, Leader of The GREENS in the Legislative Assembly.
- The idea for the development of the Motion is a result of a combined efforts of a number of people including active members of the #ManusLivesMatter support group.
- Approximately forty people went along to sit in the Gallery and hear Shane Rattenbury speak to the Motion. After Shane spoke to it, all the people in the Gallery gave a long, standing ovation. Our Deputy Chief Minister, Yvette Berry (ALP) also spoke in support of the Motion. Alistair Coe (LIBs) rose to speak against it.
- The LIBs abstained from voting.
- Happily – the Motion was ‘carried’.
The Chief Minister, Andrew Barr wrote to Peter Dutton (on 6th October). In his letter Andrew:
- let him know The Motion was passed in the Assembly on 24 August.
- restated the ACT’s long history as an inclusive community, is a ‘Refugee Welcome Zone’ and part of the SHEV program.
- restated how the ACT Govt is committed to resettling refugees and asylum seekers from Manus & Nauru.
- asked Dutton to immediately remove all refugees and asylum seekers from Manus and Nauru and resettle them in the Refugee Welcome Zones across Australia.
- stated how the ACT Govt welcomes all efforts of the Commonwealth Govt to resettle asylum seekers in Canberra.
The ALP National Policy Forum considers proposals for amendments to Labor’s National Platform in the lead up to each National Conference. The ALP National Conference occurs only once every three years, so we have taken this opportunity to make our contribution to policy changes at the next Conference which takes place in Adelaide on 26-28 July 2018. We will lobby for these changes right up to the Conference
Labor for Refugees submitted proposed amendments to the ALP National Policy Forum in October 2017. These amendments are made to the section in Labor’s Platform on Migration and Refugees, which appears in Chapter 9, A Fair Go for All. The changes we urge the Labor Party to adopt are highlighted in purple here.
Please publicise our amended version of Chapter 9, and ask other members of the Party, through their Branches and Federal Electorate Councils, to endorse them. We need to let the Party know that ALP Branches and Federal Electorate Councils support these important changes to Labor’s refugee policy.
Australian Cinema Release November 2017! A remarkable film of courage and determination.
Delegates to 2018 ALP Conference
We will have a better chance of success in reforming Labor’s refugee policies if supporters of L4R stand as Delegates for next year’s National Conference. The changes to ALP rules allow National Conference Delegates to be elected by rank and file members from their Federal Electorate Councils. We therefore urge you to consider nominating when this opportunity arises. There will be 107 Delegates attending from NSW.
If you intend running as a Conference Delegate, please send us your Expression of Interest so that we can support you.
Back the Plan:
The Conference ran out of time for debate, but since both factions supported the Motion, it was passed without debate. This was the speech our National and State Secretary, Nizza Siano, would have given in support of the motion, and the motion itself.
The Interdiction of Asylum Seekers at Sea: Law and (mal)practice in Europe and Australia, policy brief by the Kaldor Centre, UNSW