Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 24 August 2017) . . Page.. 3333 ..
happening there. As an elected representative, I feel it is my duty to represent the views of the community, and I know that Canberrans would welcome those who are currently on Manus Island and Nauru into our community.
I would like to end with a few words from the men on Manus Island. On 24 July the men wrote a letter to “the Australian government, the Labor Party, the Greens, the independents and all who exert some power in Australia.” I believe that this includes members here in this place. The letter says:
There is no safety and security for us in the town as we have experienced time and time again. We have been beaten up, robbed, humiliated and insulted by locals almost every single day …
We are not going to fight and we are not going to cause any unrest. We are powerless and weak. Our souls and bodies are destroyed under your cruel regime of … torture and trauma by your offshore detention.
You have the army, the police and all of the necessary manpower and equipment. Bring them here and we will line up so you can shoot us to end our misery if you want to force us out.
Please … do not scapegoat and use the argument that PNG is responsible for us. You are Australians, and we are not cattle …
You are funding this cruel inhumane system and your money is giving the orders here.
From all of us on Manus who [you] are using as ununiformed soldiers to so called protect your borders.
It is well beyond time that Australian policy changed when it comes to those in detention on Manus Island and Nauru. The federal government should immediately remove all refuges and asylum seekers from these detention centres. Bring them to Australia, where we know there are communities across this country willing to accept them. I commend this motion to the Assembly.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (11.44): I thank Mr Rattenbury for bringing this motion to the Assembly today, a motion which, of course, ACT Labor will support. The ACT government stands firm on its commitment to uphold the human rights and dignity of people arriving here as refugees, humanitarian entrants and asylum seekers. We do this by recognising the plight they have endured and advocating for a swift and measured response to their settlement needs in partnership with service providers and stakeholders.
I am happy to get the chance to speak to the motion as a past Minister for Multicultural Affairs but saddened that there continues to be a need to do so. I also want to acknowledge the ongoing work in this area being led by Minister Rachel