Senator Mckim: I present to the Senate a non-conforming petition. It’s signed by 153 detainees on Manus Island.
Australia’s Manus Island prison will be closed. Now, this was a deadline put in place by immigration minister Peter Dutton—a self-imposed deadline—and it was confirmed today in the Senate by the government that the Australian government will close that facility by 31 October.
What we also know is that this government has no idea and no plan whatsoever in regard to what to do with the many hundreds of men who have been imprisoned on Manus Island by the Labor and Liberal parties in this place, so many of whom have had their lives utterly destroyed by the torture, by the deliberate harm that’s been caused to them, by the murders they have witnessed, by the riots, the beatings and the machete attacks, and by the Good Friday attack, when drunken members of the Papua New Guinean navy fired over a hundred shots into the Manus Island prison inside the Lombrum Naval Base and loaded up a Toyota HiLux ute and tried to ram it through the gates so that they could attack refugees inside this centre.
Offshore detention has been a stain on this country’s soul for far too long, and it’s a stain that’s been put there by the Labor and Liberal parties in this parliament. It will continue to be a stain on the soul of this country until every single man, woman and child currently incarcerated on Manus Island and Nauru is brought out of detention and to safety here in Australia. I say to the Labor and Liberal parties in this place: you are complicit in torture. You are complicit in causing deliberate harm to people. You are complicit in sex abuse, including child sex abuse. You are complicit in murder, in rape and in riot because you have put people in a situation that you knew, or ought to have known, would increase the likelihood of those things happening. Your complicity in deliberately inflicting human misery on these people will never be forgotten. Labor’s cowardice in reopening the Manus Island detention centre and indefinitely detaining people there in 2012 will never be forgotten. There will be a reckoning for these crimes at some stage. People will be held to account, and apologies will be delivered.
For now, the situation is urgent. In fact, we have a crisis on our hands. Men on Manus Island are at breaking point today because they do not know what is going to happen to them in just two short weeks time when the Australian government closes its Manus Island prison. As we learned today, the government has no idea what is going to happen to those people. However, what we do know is that today Minister Cash refused and failed to rule out the use of force to remove people from the Manus Island prison and refused to rule out cutting off water and electricity to Australia’s Manus Island prison inside the Lombrum Naval Base in order to coerce people to leave.
We know that Australia has a track record of using water and electricity and access to those things to coerce people because they’ve already done it to move people around inside Australia’s Manus Island prison in the Lombrum detention centre. For pity’s sake, Minister, and your friends on the other side in the Labor Party: close those camps now, but bring those people here to Australia. They have to be evacuated. We’ve got an emergency on our hands created by the Labor and Liberal parties acting in lockstep in this place, as they always do on these matters.
Chamber Senate on 10/2017 Item QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: TAKE NOTE OF ANSWERS – Immigration Detention Speaker: McKim, Sen Nicholas/ Parliment Transcript used for reporting News