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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2485..


MS MacDONALD (continuing):

situations; the work they do get is not sanctioned work; and they are not entitled to travel freely. There are so many limitations placed on these people that it is ludicrous to say they are able to integrate into Filipino society.

The federal minister closes by saying:

Should they wish to migrate to Australia, they may apply under the normal family or skills streams of the Migration Program.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, that is ludicrous. The idea that they can apply under the normal family stream is wrong, because the normal family stream applies to close family. It does not apply to extended family-aunts and uncles-who are the sponsors in these cases.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, there is a minor point I did not speak about before which I would like to mention. I refer to an issue which has been raised in this discussion throughout the world, not just here-that the argument is being used that the stateless Vietnamese are going to be granted permanent residency status in the Philippines, and that this will make a difference.

In fact, as a letter from a member of the House of Representatives committee states, the average timeframe for a bill to go through in the Philippines is eight to nine years. That is not a short-term solution for these people, who are not necessarily looking to settle permanently in the Philippines in any case. They are looking to be with their families here in Australia.

Finally, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I thank the people who have risen to support this motion. It is an important motion for the people of the Vietnamese community in Australia, which is a tight-knit community. I feel that I have been a small player in it, although the Vietnamese community here in Canberra have been saying today that they really appreciate the fact that I have brought this up; that it is an important issue; and that I am doing a big thing for them. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

Amendment negatived.

Motion agreed to.

Refugees

MR BERRY

(3.42): I move:

My motion does not state that the ACT is not refugee friendly; it is a clear statement of this Assembly's position in relation to the treatment of refugees. I refer, first, to the second verse of our national anthem, which honourable members might remember goes something like this:


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