Page 481 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022
According to the UNHCR, more than three million people have already fled Ukraine, with the number of internally displaced people approaching more than two million. The ACT has always been a proud refugee welcome zone and part of the Welcoming Cities Network. We will of course support any Ukrainian refugees who come to Australia and who would want to call Canberra home, either temporarily or permanently. The ACT government provides a range of services for refugees and temporary visa holders, as well as other supports and mental health services for anyone in our community experiencing distress or trauma due to the events unfolding in the Ukraine.
This conflict should also remind us all of how lucky we are in this city and in this country. It reinforces that anyone can be compelled, forced, to leave their home with nothing and have to travel a perilous journey to seek safety in another country. That is why we must welcome refugees, wherever they come from. This is not something that people choose. It is something that is forced upon them, and our shared humanity must surely take precedence.
Madam Speaker, in moving this motion I hope that this Assembly will stand united with Ukraine, its democratically elected government and its people. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (10.59): I thank the Chief Minister for bringing forward this motion today. The Canberra Liberals support the motion. I think we can all agree that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine goes against everything we stand for as Australians.
It is in Australia’s interest to support the rules-based international system, where sovereignty and territorial integrity are paramount. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is of deep concern not only to the Ukrainian Australians but to all Canberrans, and indeed all populations around the world.
The scale of this military aggression in Eastern Europe is of significant concern around the globe. We have already seen the tragic loss of life that comes with war, and a developing humanitarian catastrophe that will devastate the region for decades. We are witnessing it all in real time. Only this morning we saw horrific scenes of Ukrainian citizens, including women and children, tied to poles. It is a scene that will not be forgotten.
I cannot even imagine the anger, the heartache and desperation of the Ukrainian people. Russia’s attacks on democracy and on sovereignty will not be tolerated. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made it very clear that Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine. The invasion is a gross violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations.
The Morrison government has moved quickly to institute a range of financial sanctions and travel bans against over 350 Russian officials. This move underlines Australia’s commitment to sanctions, sanctioning those who have amassed vast