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Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Page: 2342


Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (19:35): Again I rise to raise my concerns with the House regarding gang crime in Melbourne, and again I raise my concerns about the need to address, in particular, the Sudanese youth gang problems in Melbourne. Sadly, the state Labor government refuses to accept that there is an issue. Also, we have the federal Labor members, including in particular those involved with our recent inquiry in the Joint Standing Committee on Migration. The shadow immigration minister, who would be Bill Shorten's immigration minister if in government, had the view that there's nothing to see in Melbourne; there's nothing to worry about; and there are no issues.

The media has been full of worrying stories—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Goodenough ): Please resume your seat, Member for La Trobe.

Mr Hart: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There was a reference to the Leader of the Opposition by an unparliamentary term. I would ask the speaker to address the Leader of the Opposition by his proper title rather than simply addressing him by his name.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, could the member please in future refer to members by their proper titles.

Mr WOOD: I didn't actually mention the opposition leader; I mentioned the shadow immigration minister. Okay, I'll take that back, but I raise the point—and this concerns me greatly—that the Labor members opposite get very excited and nitpick over the issue, when we've got victims in Melbourne. This week we had a mother who had a home invasion where a child was in the room and was in absolute fear. We've also had other incidents this week in the western suburbs, in Labor-held seats, which have been reported in the media, where Africans have broken into people's houses and assaulted them during home invasions with crowbars and baseball bats.

I know the Labor member opposite doesn't really care about this. Why? It's because it's happening in Melbourne. It's actually happening in the western suburbs and it's happening in the south-eastern suburbs. There was more of a minor incident in my own seat of La Trobe this week, but not for the youngsters involved. Their parents dropped them off at the Beaconsfield train station. They were waiting at the station to go into the CBD at 10 in the morning when a number of Sudanese youths got off the train. They robbed them, they threatened them and they intimidated them. This sort of behaviour must be stopped.

The need for early intervention is absolutely key, and I made this point with our recent inquiry. I made the point two years ago that we need youth workers and mentors. We need to get in there right from the start to help these young people out, otherwise they lose hope and they go down into this world of getting involved in gang crime.

Recently, in our migration inquiry, we had TESOL Australia give evidence. The Australian Council of TESOL Associations—teaching English to speakers of other languages—conducted a survey in 2016. They received reports of federal funding for refugee students going to the states and into the schools' general budget rather than being in a separate account, so it's not being spent where it should be spent. When it comes to the need to have youth workers and mentors, I'm a great supporter of Les Twentyman and what he's trying to do. But, again, state Labor has failed to get involved.

I now go to the migration inquiry. We actually had a specific term of reference:

The Committee shall give particular consideration to social engagement of youth migrants, including involvement of youth migrants in anti-social behaviour such as gang activity, and the adequacy of the Migration Act 1958 character test provisions as a means to address issues arising from this behaviour.

Again, the shadow immigration minister and Labor members on the inquiry had the audacity to say that recommendations 17 and 18, which refer to the character test, were clearly outside the terms of reference, when they were in the terms of reference. My view, and that of the Liberal and Nationals members of the committee, is simple: if you come to Australia on a visa and you commit a serious or violent crime, such as a home invasion, carjacking or sexual offence, you give up your journey to become an Australian citizen; you will have your visa cancelled and you will be deported. That's the view of the committee on this side. On the other side, Labor members—in particular, the shadow immigration minister—had the view: 'You know what? There's nothing to see in Victoria. There's nothing wrong.' Evidence given by the Crime Statistics Agency in Victoria was that one out of every 7½ aggravated burglaries is committed by someone who is South Sudanese born. The only way you are ever going to address this issue is to admit there's an issue in the first place. (Time expired)