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Thursday, 12 May 2011
Page: 3903


Ms O'NEILL (Robertson) (17:55): I rise to speak on the Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection) Bill 2011. I believe that this bill addresses sensitive issues of serious import. Like in most electorates in the Commonwealth, in the electorate of Robertson the issue of asylum seekers and unauthorised migration is contentious. I understand that many Australians hold strong views on this issue and I am certain that those opposite, who have sought to fuel fear and alarm, have once again misused the vehicle of this debate to misrepresent the realities about migration generally and the purpose of this bill in particular.

There is in fact a very important task that this legislation undertakes and it goes to the core values that underpin our democracy and our belief in the central tenets of freedom and equality. These tenets of freedom and equality are at the centre of the international obligations to which we adhere as active world citizens and members of the United Nations. I have always maintained that our human rights and international obligations must be upheld and complied with, not just articulated but enacted. I believe this bill achieves that objective.

This legislation does not represent a softening of Australia's approach to asylum seekers, as the opposition may contend and have, indeed, attempted to argue all afternoon. Rather, it represents a necessary reform in the migration—

Mr Laming: Mr Deputy Speaker, I draw attention to the state of the House.

The bells being rung—

Mr Albanese: Mr Deputy Speaker, can I make the point to the opposition that this will stop, potentially, the opposition leader from giving the budget reply. So, if there are Liberals and Nats out there, they might want to come into the chamber.

(Quorum formed)