Aug 14, 2006

Migration Legislation defeated



14 August 2006

Anthony Albanese, Federal Member for Grayndler, has welcomed today’s news that the Howard Government has been forced to withdraw its proposed migration legislation because it faced defeat in the Senate.

It is extraordinary that the Government has withdrawn the Bill, rather than allow the Senate to vote on it.

In his speech in Parliament on Thursday 10 August, Mr Albanese spoke in the strongest terms against the legislation, which was introduced in clear response to pressure from the Indonesian Government. The Bill would have seen a return to children in detention on Nauru.

Mr Albanese said in Parliament, “This government has a policy that is built on sand. It shifts with the wind, it shifts on the basis of what is in the political interest of the government in terms of its preparedness to promote fear, to promote hatred and to vilify some of the most vulnerable people in the global community. It is no way for this parliament to provide the leadership that we have been entrusted to provide by our respective communities.

This bill reduces us as a parliament and as a nation, and we have seen that the government is even prepared to silence Australian parliamentarians on this issue.

You do not protect your borders by giving them up—and that is what this bill does.

The Labor Party supports border protection but does not accept that excising the whole of Australia is an effective means of border protection. You do not deal with boat arrivals by pretending that you do not have sea borders or by pretending that, if you arrive by one particular mode of arrival—boat—you do not arrive in Australia at all.

This bill is a disgraceful shirking of responsibility by Australia and it must be rejected. I reject the bill as being fundamentally abhorrent to everything I believe in and all the reasons why I want to represent my electorate in this great parliament.

We need a government that is prepared to promote hope over fear, and we need a government that is prepared to respect the human rights of all individuals. I urge the House to reject this abhorrent legislation.”

For a full transcript of the speech, click here.