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Wednesday, 29 May 1996
Page: 1246

Senator CHAMARETTE(10.13 a.m.) —I rise to indicate that the Greens also support the disallowance motion moved by Senator Spindler. I shall not repeat the very good arguments that have been put for the motion, but I do believe that the role of government is rightfully to take responsibility for those who are not in a position to look after themselves. People who have applied for protection, people who are asylum-seekers and refugees are those that are most vulnerable.

In Western Australia we have a state government that likes quoting the Bible as its authority for its duties, so I am often tempted to remind them that the real role of government is to look after the widows, the fatherless, the orphans, the destitute and the sojourners. I believe that this government would be going in an entirely inappropriate direction—and I might add that there are very disturbing indications that it is going in a very wrongful direction—in relation to clamping down on those people who are least able to fight for their rights. If we do not fight for them in this place, they are vulnerable indeed.

So I am happy to be associated with this motion and to support the comments that Senator Spindler made in saying that we are not in a position in this country to treat some people as second-class citizens. We should not be able to deny the rights of citizens and their needs being attended to by those kinds of government programs that are available. With those words I indicate the Greens' support for the disallowance motion being considered at this time.