Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 24 August 2017) . . Page.. 3337 ..
in the ACT, a direct responsibility. Whilst the issues raised in this motion are very serious, the constitution makes it very clear that they are federal issues. But what is not a federal issue is the welfare of detainees in AMC and in Bimberi.
I very much hope that in the next executive members’ business in the next sitting week in September Mr Rattenbury comes back with a motion about how he is going to address the serious issues at AMC and Bimberi, because I believe the people there and their families are being let down. These institutions unfortunately are not a place of rehabilitation as they currently stand; they risk simply being a school of crime.
With all the wealth we have in Canberra and all the compassion we have, we owe it to the detainees and their families to ensure that we have a positive intervention in these peoples’ lives. But at present we risk the situation becoming even worse. The Canberra Liberals are proud of our commitment to justice and to fairness, and we will continue to litigate that for all Canberrans, because that is what we have been sent to the Assembly to do.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (12.00), in reply: The issue I have brought before the Assembly today is simply a human issue. Sadly in this country for well over the last decade it has become much more of a political issue as various political forces have sought to use refugees and asylum seekers for political advantage. We need to move past that; we need to have a policy focused on compassion and respect for human dignity and human decency.
I acknowledge the many Canberrans in the gallery who have shown great compassion and commitment to come here today to witness this debate and who have worked for an extended period to bring about a change in Australian federal policy. I acknowledge members of the Refugee Action Committee, particularly Michelle Dunne Breen and John Minns, who sought to encourage this motion to be brought before the Assembly and approached various members of the chamber to encourage support for this sort of statement being made by the ACT Assembly.
It is entirely appropriate that this Assembly canvasses these sorts of issues—
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MR RATTENBURY: It is entirely appropriate that this Assembly canvass these sorts of issues because the ACT can play a part in this solution and members of our community are interested in these issues. This Assembly can canvass many issues at once, and this is the time and the place to canvass this one. There are times and places to canvass the other issues Mr Coe has raised today, and he has raised some important points. I think he has misrepresented some of those points, as he and his colleagues continue to do. He has today insinuated, as Mrs Jones has done on repeated occasions—
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, that is multiple times you have interjected now. Please.