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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 2719


Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (11:09): by leave—I move Greens amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 7349 together:

(1) Schedule 1, page 6 (after line 28), after item 18, insert:

18B After subsection 198AB(6)

   Add:

   (6B) If the Minister designates a country or has previously designated a country under subsection (1), the Minister must:

   (a) subject to the media access protocol referred to in paragraph (c), ensure that the country provides assurances that it will provide accredited media representatives with reasonable access to any place where a person who is an unauthorised maritime arrival for the purposes of this Act is detained, housed or otherwise held; and

   (b) subject to the media access protocol referred to in paragraph (c), ensure that the country provides assurances that it will provide accredited media representatives with reasonable access to interview and speak with a person (being a person who consents to be interviewed) who is an unauthorised maritime arrival for the purposes of this Act; and

(c) enter into a media access protocol with the country that allows accredited media representatives to enter a place where a person who is an unauthorised maritime arrival is detained, housed or otherwise held for the purposes of:

      (i) general reporting on the facilities operation and status (including for the purpose of taking photographs, recordings and other footage); and

      (ii) interviewing and speaking with a person (being a person who consents to be interviewed) who is detained or otherwise held at the place; and

(d) make publicly available the media access protocol referred to in paragraph (c).

(2) Schedule 1, page 12 (after line 14), after item 60, insert:

60B Application provision—subsection 198AB(6B)

   Subsection 198AB(6B) of the Migration Act, as inserted by this Schedule, applies in relation to a designation that is made before or after commencement.

The second lot of amendments that the Australian Greens are moving this morning relate directly to the establishment of media access protocols for detention centres and camps on Manus Island and Nauru. There are two technical amendments which allow for this to occur.

The media have access to Australian based detention centres, subject of course to appropriate media access protocols, but for some reason—and there is only one conclusion to be drawn—the government has not been willing to allow media into the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. I will read amendment (1) so it is very clear to people what it does. If the minister designates a country, such as Manus Island or Nauru, or has previously designated a country under subsection (1), the minister must:

   (a) subject to the media access protocol referred to in paragraph (c), ensure that the country provides assurances that it will provide accredited media representatives with reasonable access to any place where a person who is an unauthorised maritime arrival for the purposes of this Act is detained, housed or otherwise held; and

   (b) subject to the media access protocol referred to in paragraph (c), ensure that the country provides assurances that it will provide accredited media representatives with reasonable access to interview and speak with a person …

(c) enter into a media access protocol with the country that allows accredited media representatives to enter a place where a person who is an unauthorised maritime arrival is detained … for the purposes of:

      (i) general reporting on the facilities operation and status (including for the purpose of taking photographs, recordings and other footage); and

      (ii) interviewing and speaking with a person (… who consents to be interviewed) who is detained or otherwise held at the place; and

(d) make publicly available the media access protocol referred to in paragraph (c).

This is fundamental to allowing not just proper scrutiny of the conditions within these camps but also proper scrutiny and assurances for the Australian taxpayer. Australian taxpayers are paying $10 billion a year, including this year, with the establishment of these awful camps. These are Australian run camps. They are Australian funded, they are managed by Australian representatives and most of the workers in these places are Australian. This is all under the auspices of Australia. The Australian people have a right to know what is going on in these camps and what their money is being spent on.

This amendment does not allow for the doors to be flung open and for anyone to come in and take photographs and footage. It requires that there be an agreement and a proper media access protocol established, with assurances from the host country that the media will be able to gain access, interview those who wished to be interviewed and take photographs of the conditions—all within an appropriate protocol. We do not even have a protocol at the moment. There are no rules against visiting these detention centres, apart from the fact that the government says you cannot. Media agencies here in Australia have for some time now been able to talk to and interview people within Australian detention centres if they follow the appropriate media access protocols. All this amendment is asking for is that the same type of access be available on Manus Island and Nauru. It is common sense—it allows for proper transparency and proper scrutiny, and it gives an assurance to the Australian people that they can find out what is going on in these places.

It should not be that difficult for the government to give assurances that media who follow the appropriate rules can have access—unless, of course, the government have something to hide; unless, of course, what is going on in these places is so atrocious, so out of step, that they do not want the Australian people to know. I have a question for the minister: will the government allow for the establishment of these media access protocols and allow for media to visit these detention centres to find out what is really going on?