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(generated from captions) Personally, I cannot

believe that members opposite

will do that. Australia

became a party to the

convention on refugees in

1954. The convention came

into being in 1951 and just a

couple of years later Australia embraced the UN

convention on refugees. The

protocol in 1967 we embraced

in 1973. So for 58 years we

have upheld the values, the

principles, that are inherent

in that convention. As the

member for Barton said, the

principles that are contained

in these sorts of documents -

he wasn't referring to the

convention on refugees, but

he was referring to the human

rights conventions under the

United Nations - he said

provided protection against unwarranted, unjustified or

arbitrary interference in the

fundamental rights enjoyed by

all individuals. We say that

includes the individuals who

come under our care, into our

responsibility, as asylum

seekers. Now, the Prime

Minister know s that the

implementation is important

because deep in her heart she

knew that the UN convention

on refugees was important

when she announced the East

Timor Solution -- Order, the

Deputy Leader of the Opposition's time has

expired. I call the member

for Throsby. I've earlier

observed in this House I'm

the great grand son of a boat

person, an illegal immigrant

who jumped ship in Albany in

the late 1890s. Then, as

now, the issue of immigration

was a very vexed issue in the

colonial parliaments of this

country. Then, as now, there

were great debates about how

we manage these issues, and

it was in the midst of such a

vexed debate that a group of backbenchers met in

Parliament House this morning

to discuss how we could move

beyond the impasse that we

currently find ourselves in.

I participated in that

meeting, I welcome the

attendance of members of all

sides in this House. At the

same time as we were meeting,

deputy speaker, another boat capsized off Christmas

Island. Nothing, deputy

speaker, could symbolise the

potential im potence of this

parliament that we could be

having that meeting at that

point in time with that event

and then move on to do

nothing about it. Nothing

could symbolise our authority

more than if we take this

opportunity to put the common

good first, and that is what

the legislation introduced by

the member for Lions does.

It puts the common good

first. Deputy speaker, I've

had my own personal journey

when it comes to this debate.

There have been many times

when both publicly and inside

Labor Party forums I've expressed great concerns

about the issue of offshore

processing. But nothing moves a person further in

this debate than the sight of

bodies floating in the ocean,

as we saw late last year off

Christmas Island, and we have

seen repeated earlier - late

last week and we have seen on

our TV screens ever since. I

still believe that our

priority should be to, as a

wealthy country in this region, maximise the number

of people that we are able to

lift out of misery. I think

that should be our priority

in this region, maximise the

number of people we can lift

out of misery. I believe we

need to do that in an orderly

way, in a way that enables us

to control our refugee

program. I do not believe,

as some in this place

believe, simply increasing

the number of people we

include in our refugee intake

is going to stop people

attempting to chance their

arm, as the member for

Chifley said in his earlier

contribution to this debate.

I do not believe that that

will occur. I do not believe

that that will occur because,

in my personal journey, I've

come to realise there are

actually pull factors. It doesn't take a lot of

thinking. This is a

wonderful country, a

fantastic country. Is there

any wonder that people would

attempt to chance their arm, to put themselves, their

lives at risk, to try to come

here, particularly when they

are fleeing persecution in

their own country? There are

pull factors, we must acknowledge that as a party

and a country, and we've done

that. The legislation before

the House today balances the need, balances those needs,

as many contributors to this

debate have said, and ensures

that we have some control

over the way we take refugees

into this country. I'd like

to say a few words about the

involvement of the UNHCR,

because much has been said

about this in the recent

debate, Deputy Speaker. I

think, frankly, Deputy

Speaker, for those opposite

who have championed the right

and importance of the UNHCR

as being a prerequisite to

their involvement in offshore

processing, fracly it's a

recent affection, because we

all know that Nauru, which

was the centre piece of their

refugee policy prior to 2007,

was not a signatory to the

UNHCR conventions, was not a

signatory to those

conventions. For them to

stand up here speaker after

speaker saying this is the

cornerstone, this is the

entry point for us to be able

to vote for this legislation,

quite frankly, Deputy

Speaker, beggars belief. Can

I also say, Deputy Speaker,

that to say that the failure

- the absence of the UNHCR

convention in relation to

Malaysia is somehow an

absence of compassion on our

side of the debate beggars

belief when you say - you've

heard speaker after speaker

on that side of the House,

deputy speaker, say a

cornerstone of their policy

is to turn the boats around.

The place they are proposing

to turn the boats around is

to Indonesia, which, as we

all know, is not a signatory

to the UNHCR convention.

There's a lot of double talk

on that side of the House.

We have an opportunity to do

the right thing and I call on all right-thinking members of

the House to do the right

thing, to support the

legislation which is proposed

by the member for Lyons and

which I believe should enjoy the support of all right-thinking members in

this place. Order, the

question is that the

amendment be agreed to. I

call the honourable member

for Paterson. One thing this House should remember is

there are serious criminal

actions here at play. The

people smugglers who deal in the worst kind of trade. Mr

Deputy Speaker, since 2007

there have been 336 boats

arrive, 19,427, and, Mr

Speaker, I don't think anyone

can count the number of

people who didn't make it to

our shores, that drowned or

perished. Mr Deputy speaker,

I've met with many of the

fine young men and women who

have manned our ships and

gone out on missions to

detain, to rescue and, sadly,

to recover bodies, and the

stress that they go through,

Mr Speaker, even though they

keep a very brave face, is

immense. Mr Deputy speaker,

it's often said that

leadership takes courage, but

it also requires consistency

in approach. The amendments

that the Coalition are

putting up to support our

three-plank policy of

observing UN conventions and

signatories to UN conventions

as being offshore processing

centres, the TPVs and to turn

the boats around where

practical is a consistent

approach. We've been

consistent on that since day

one. The former Speaker said

we'd had this recent sign-up

to the conventions of the

United Nations. Well, I have

to say to you, Mr Speaker,

what we have seen here on the

other side is the abandonment

of principles supporting the

United Nations. Mr Speaker,

I have a reasonably long

memory. I sat in this House

during the debates on Tampa

and the associated bills and members opposite, whether it

was the member for Lyons, the

member for Jagga Jagga, the

member for Melbourne Ports,

the member for Reid, all

stood up, the left wing, and

condemned the Howard Government number one for offshore processing and

number 2 for not observing

the principles and rights

expressed under the United

Nations human rights

commission. Mr Deputy

Speaker, we're not asking the

Prime Minister to be

inconsistent with her

approach or commitments that

she has given. In fact, as

the Leader of the Opposition

said on 6PR just days before

the election, the Prime

Minister said on the Howard

satler program, "I would rule

out anywhere that is not a

signatory to the refugee

convention". We ask her not

to rule out. We don't ask

her to change her view. We

ask her to remain consistent

to her view. Nauru since

September 26 is a signatory

to the convention. Malaysia

is not. The High Court in

its determination has already

expressed all of its

reservations and concerns

about the treatment of people

that would be there because

there is no protection

afforded under the United

Nations human rights

convention. Mr Deputy

Speaker, there are a number

of other speakers from the

other side who have expressed

concerns - the member for

Chisholm, the member for free

mantle, amongst others. We

ask them to observe what

their core faith is, and if

their core faith - I've

expressed it over the years -

is to support aspects of the

United Nations and, in particular, the human rights

convention on refugees, then

they should adopt the

Coalition's amendment to this

bill. Deputy Speaker, I just

fear that we're going to go

through a process here where

there will be no change. I

fear that the boats will keep

coming. I fear that there

will be more losses, and I

fear that people will

unnecessarily suffer. So

we're not actually asking the

Government to change as

dramatically as its position

was way back at the time of

Tampa, we're saying come a

little way, put back into

place the policies and

principles that stop the

boats. We're saying to them

observe to your adherents

that the United Nations human

rights convention is perhaps

one of the best principles to

apply, so stick to your guns,

Prime Minister, and stand by

your quote to Howard Sattler,

where days before the

election you said you

wouldn't entertain sending

anyone to a country which is

not a signatory to the United Nations human rights

convention. To do otherwise

would just give further

evidence to your statements

on the carbon tax where you

made one statement before an election, did another thing

now. You made a statement

about sending people to

countries that weren't

signatories. We don't want

you to change that

now. Order. The question is

that the amendments be agreed

to. I call the member for

Melbourne Ports Thank you

very much, deputy speaker.

Three years ago my committee

unanimously advised the then government for the fair conditions on the treatment

of asylum seekers. We had

unanimous coalition support

for the fair treatment of

asylum seekers and for some

of the centres in which they

were incarcerated. I was,

and the committee was wrong

not to include offshore

processing in our

conclusions. The drowning at

sea of these poor people,

abused by their people

smuggler exploiters, by the

xenophobes of talk radio, has

made me think again. Enough

is enough. Unlike the ideologues of the right or

the left, I believe the

majority of this Parliament

must face the practical

situation which we now find

ourselves in. We must adjust

our policies to deal with

these realities. We cannot

stick with a blinkered

policies of the past. If you

notice, member for Hume, I

began with a mea culpa where

I said I can't stick with my

own blinkered policies of the

past. In the last 10 years

in the Senate between 2002

and 2012, when it came to

matters of national interest,

Labor voted 154 times with

the Coalition. We ask the

Coalition to do this once in

this House in the national interest and to help prevent

the further drowning s of

these poor people by adopting

the member for Lyons'

legislation. My activities

in the last days, as many

other members, have been

prompted not only by my own

conscience but by the

courageous stand of the

member for Moore, a decent

man whose ethical stance has

sparked our conscience. The

member for Wentworth and

others have talked about

balance and he has made some

sincere references to the

UNHCR and to Malaysia, because of course he in the

past, unlike so many on the

other side, has made clear

stances for human rights in

Malaysia and has adopted the

UNHCR. In researches that I

did for previous speeches on

this topic, deputy Speaker, I

noticed that apart from

Senator Brandis, the members

for Flinders and Wentworth,

almost no-one on the other

side had ever quoted the UNHCR conventions on refugees

prior to this debate, but

they use them now in this

debate as a cloak for not

taking any action because

it's a policy suggested by

the Government. Of course,

UN conventions adopted by

Cuba, Russia, Syria, even

China, are never obeyed,

never supported by those

countries, never implemented,

UN conventions are good, but

they are not perfect. What

has the Government done with Malaysia that should make

people who are sincere supporters of human rights

think that we should support

this resolution of the member

for Lyon that includes both

suggestions of the Coalition

on Nauru and our suggestions

on Malaysia? The Minister

has undertaken with the Malaysian Government the

right for these people to

legal status, their right to employment, their right to

health care, their right to

education, their right to

work. These are conditions

not granted to refugees in

Malaysia prior to the

Minister's deliberations and

negotiations. They are not abandoning human rights, and

any of you who want to stick

with Cuba and Syria over UN human rights conventions and

say that these conventions

are not good enough are in

the wrong camp as far as

human rights are concerned.

This is a regional solution

unlike the ideological purity

of the member for Melbourne

and I'm very proud to support

it, Mr Deputy Speaker. I

conclude by quoting a strong

critic of this Government, the the 'Australian''s

foreign editor Greg Sheridan,

from an article criticising the Leader of the Opposition's stance on this

Malaysia option which he is

right is part of the

suggestion by the member for

Lyon in his support for the

Bali declaration and his

suggested legislation. The

foreign editor of the

'Australian' said "The Leader of the Opposition is in

danger of performing a too

clever by half political judo

trick on himself, making sure

that if he does become Prime

Minister, he'll not have the

legislative or administrative

tools to fulfil his pledge to

stop the boats. It's not

good enough for him to enjoy

the Government's pain. This

is a terrible mistake he is

making in disarming the

nation and he's talking about

Australia, and potentially

any future Government he

runs. In this critical

policy area." Deputy

Speaker, the member for Lyon

has advanced a practical

solution which is a compromise. Enough is

enough. We practical people

- and there are many decent

people on the Coalition side

of politics - have to come to the realisation that we must -- Order, the member for Melbourne ports' time has expired. The question is

that the amendments be agreed

to. I call on the honourable

member for Farrer. Thank

you, deputy Speaker. The

Government has announced it

will support the member for

Lyon's bill and the Coalition

will also support the bill

with one important amendment,

that the offshore processing

country designated by the

responsible minister be a

signatory to the refugee

convention. The Coalition

does not support the

Malaysian Solution. While

there is much to admire about

Malaysia, for it to be at the

centre of this Government's border protection policy

would be a mistake. The Malaysian Solution involves a

trade and exchange in human

beings with a country that

has not ratified the UN

refugee convention and

associated protocols. By

contrast, Nauru is a workable

option and has consistently

been our policy. Deputy

Speaker, we have deafoted

enormous resources to the

rescue of boats. We are

asking our nations and Customs personnel to pull

bodies out of the water. We

are putting immense pressure

on the Navy and customs to be

on constant standby, constant

alert and in a state of

continual readiness, and

while we would always willing

ly commit to the safety of

life at sea, the current

state of affairs is just not

sustainable. It's the job of

every MP to debate this

legislation and to examine

their consciences. That is a

good thing. But in the

process of that debate, is it

not also our responsibility

to make sure that we come up

with the very best policy

instrument to stop the boats,

stop the drownings and stop

the pain? That's why I speak

in support of the amendment

to the member for Lyon's bill

made by the opposition spokesperson, the member for

Cook. While there is no

hierarchy of need when it

comes to claims to refugee

status and it is not the

right of anyone in this place

to say that one person is

more deserving than another,

we must observe the reality

of all those individuals and

families who wait patiently

in refugee camps around the

world, wait patiently for

their chance to come to

Australia or New Zealand or

Canada or the US. Deputy

Speaker, my view is that

temporary protection visas

need to be part of any

solution. I met many people

in my electorate over the

years of the Howard

Government who were here on

temporary protection visas.

In fact, the first TPVs were

to the Kosovars who came to

my home town of Albury wad

onna. I met Hazaras from

Afghanistan, their circumstances were difficult.

They felt cut off from their

homeland far away, separated from family, uncertain of

their future or when the Australian Government might

indicate that it was safe to

go home. Some of them were

sent home, some of them

stayed. They were tough

times for those of us who

represented those families

and communities. They made

connections with the small

rural towns in which they

lived and representations

were constantly being made on their behalf for special

consideration. For those of

us who supported the Howard Government's approach, we

were on the receiving end of

some pretty poisonous

invective, but if I compare

the situation then with the

situation now, I would much

prefer, from a humanitarian

perspective, those days to

these days, since this Prime

Minister took office 196

boats and 12,877 people have

arrived and countless others

have been lost at sea along

the way. Much is made of the

way that things ought to

work, push factors, pull

factors, the UNHCR, and so

on. Yes, it would be so much

better if the world acted

together and took an approach

to the worldwide flows of refugees that embedded the

principles of humanitarianism, secure

bodies and generosity, and

yes we are a generous country, but Australia can

only do what we can do in

terms of the legislation we

enact in this place. The

Coalition has been consistent. What the

Coalition promises and

proposes today by way of our

reasonable amendment to the

member for Lyons' reasonable

bill is actually the best way

forward and I urge members to

consider it seriously. The

question is the amendments be

agreed to. I call the

Minister for Regional Australia, regional

development and local government. Thank you,

Deputy Speaker. I rise in

this debate to support the

Oakeshott bill and argue

against the amendments. I do

so as Minister for

Territories and having

visited Christmas Island I

know the impact that the

tragedy so movingly was

spoken to by the member for

sterling earlier today has affected that community and

the need for us to understand

their circumstance s, but,

most of all, deputy Speaker,

to understand the tragedy of

the circumstances that have

happened over the last week

requires this parliament to

take action. It requires

this Parliament to understand

the importance of getting a

bipartisan solution on this,

because that's the only way

this will go through this

Parliament. Let me go to the

amendment first. The

requirement for the Coalition

that the country receiving be

a signatory to the convention

has never been a consistent

view of the Liberal Party,

never. It wasn't a

requirement when, as part of

the Pacific Solution, Nauru

was used by the Howard

Government. I remember as

Leader of the Labor Party

when we hosted CHOGM in this

country, I urged the Prime

Minister of the day to be

arguing signatories at the CHOGM meeting, because many

of the countries in the

pipeline of the refugee

movement were in fact

Commonwealth countries. I

argued to the Prime Minister

that he should take this

issue to CHOGM to try to

underpin a regional solution based around the convention.

He rejected it, said it

wasn't necessary. As for the

argument that signatories to

the treaty somehow guarantees

human rights, I think the

member for Melbourne Ports

made this point before, it

doesn't, because some of the

signatories to the refugee

treaty are Afghanistan,

Bolivia, Botswana, Colombia,

Mozambique, Serbia, Somalia,

Uganda. Does anyone

seriously over there suggest

these people sent to those

countries would have their

human rights protected? We

do hold strongly to the position of the importance of

the human rights issue, and

that's why, in terms of the

Malaysia Solution, even

though it was not possible,

even though it was a country

that was not signatory to the

treaty, we bent over backward

s to get treaty-like recognition - not signatories

to the treaty, but,

nevertheless, the guarantee.

This is what the UNHCR had to

say about the solution. The

arrangement and its implementation provide for

important protection

safeguards. They respect the

principle of non-reformant,

the right of asylum, the

principle of family unit and

best interests, humane

reception conditions, lawful

status to remain in Malaysia

until a durable solution is

found. The critical test

will now be in the implementation." In other

words, the UNHCR was saying

to this parliament "we are

prepared to give it a go".

The problem with this

parliament is those who sit

opposite who aren't prepared

to give it a go. The very thing they say their

amendment will protect on all

the evidence is not

consistent with anything the

Liberal Party has ever stood

for on this issue. It

doesn't guarantee it even if

it does happen and we have

bent over backwards in terms

of the Malaysian Solution to

ensure that those human

rights issues are indeed

protected. I also want to

take issue with the member

for Berowra and Goldstein in

terms of our position in

terms of the Tampa

circumstance. It was not

true that we insisted just on

the human rights dimension

before we agreed to the

amendment. In fact, the

Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beasley, came into this Parliament in Question Time

that day and said we support

the Government's action in

terms of the military having

been sent in. The problem is

that action was not legal.

The problem is the Government

of the day had to legislate

to make it legal. In going

through the exercise of

making it legal, they were

prepared to obliterate much

of Australian protection.

For example, a provision in

that early Bill was that the

law overrides all other laws

in operation in the

Commonwealth, it excluded the operation of the legislation

from the jurisdiction of the

High Court. That's what we

objected to, and that's why

you had to bring in a second

bill, had to bring in a

second bill which we

supported. But that in no

way introduced the Pacific

Solution. It was to cover

your rush-to action. It was the illegal circumstances of

it and the Pacific Solution,

as you know, we had many

disagreements with. The

member's time has expired. I

call the member for Fadden.

Thank you, madam deputy

Speaker. I rise to support

the amendment lodged by my

friend and colleague the

member for Cook. Firstly, let me thank the Prime

Minister for updating the

House on the military

involvement in the high seas

to the north of Australia,

let me thank HMAS Maitland

for the work they're doing

right now in terms of rescue

and assistance. I'm sure her ship and the company are

living up to the motto. Let

me also thank the pilots and

crew for that. I ask the

Minister for Defence if he'd

pass on the thanks of the

whole House for the work our

military are doing in incredibly difficult

circumstances in the north of

our country. Can I say I

find myself in agreement with

the Minister for defence procurement this afternoon

when he said that in 2001

both sides joined together

under difficult circumstances

to put together tough but

humane measures. He's right,

both sides did join together,

both sides did come together

and vote on a raft and suite

of measures that worked.

There's no question they

worked. In the last six

years of the Howard

Government, only about three

boats a year were arriving.

In fact, in the last long

weekend, just a few weekends

ago, more boats and more

people seeking asylum arrived

in that one long weekend than

in the last six years of the

Howard Government. When the

Howard Government lost

office, there were four

people in detention. , just

four. It was the raft of

measures, as the Minister for

Defence procurement, quite

rightly pointed out, a raft

of measures that

worked. We're going to leave

the Liberals MP there in

Parliament of course. We'll

keep monitoring this. We're

hearing the vote, though, on

this legislation could be a

while off yet. We'll return

you to Parliament in just a

moment. If you've just

joined us, though, to bring

you up to speed with what's

happened today, the unfolding story, this week has been

dominated in Parliament by an

asylum seeker tragedy last

week in which a boat

capsized, up to 90 people

drowned. Another boat

capsized today. It was midway between Indonesia and

Christmas Island. It was

carrying between 123 and 133

people, according to the

Prime Minister's statement to Parliament earlier this

afternoon. Fortunately, 123

people have been rescued from

the water, so the search and

rescue operation continues.

Merchant vessels were first

to arrive on the scene,

Australian Navy vessels and patrol aircraft also have

been there as well. This

latest tragedy renewed,

refreshed, if you like, the

political imperative to try

to find a solution to this before Parliament rises at

the end of this week, as in

tomorrow night, for the long

six-week winter break. There have been throughout this

week, and again this morning,

meeting of backbench MPs

across the party divide

trying to find a bipartisan

solution to this. About 40

of them met this morning.

Then this latest boat

disaster really did, as I

say, focus everyone's minds

on trying to find a solution

in the next couple of days

before Parliament rises. In

Parliament this afternoon

Question Time was suspended,

put off until later today,

and Rob Oakeshott's Bill, the

Independent MP's Bill, which

would allow the Malaysia

Solution to go ahead, it

would basically allow offshore processing in our

region that are party to the

Bali process, Malaysia is one

of them. This is the bill

being debated now. The

Opposition has moved an

amendment that would prevent

Malaysia. It would only

allow processing in countries

that are signatories to the

UN refugee convention. That

specifically excludes

Malaysia, it does include

Nauru. This debate is

continuing, as we say.

Joining us now Labor's Steve

George anis, one of the MPs

who pulled together this cross-party grouping that's

been meeting and trying to

find a bipartisan solution.

He's with us now while the

debate continues in the

House. Thanks for joining

us. What do you think, will

this get through? I think the

first step is that we are

debating it in Parliament,

and that is an important

step. We saw six months of stalemate, six months where

the issue wasn't raised. I

suppose it's a good sign that

we are debating it, there is

a bill before the House that

Mr Oakeshott has put up. As we're speaking now, the

debate is taking place. I

think it is a great first

step. It is something that

could be palatable to both

sides. We're hearing the

Opposition has moved some

amendments, but I think that

by hook or by crook we have

to do something and ensure

that we have something in place before we leave this

Parliament. Today's boat

that we heard about off

Christmas Island in the

waters up North that capsized

and as we're speaking there's

a rescue mission taking place has just highlighted the

urgency of how we need to

have something in place. I

think sitting back with our

political positions and not

moving on this subject, as

we've done so in the last six

months, is not a good thing. What's Labor going to

move on? There's been no

movement from Labor on this

today. We are supporting the

Oakeshott bill today and I

think we'll just have to wait

and see how the debate pans

out. There are still many

people to speak and there's

yet to be a vote on

that. From the press gallery

in the chamber there seemed

to be pretty intense

discussions between key

opposition figures, like

Julie Bishop, Scott Morrison

and some members of the

Coalition, that seem to have

been wafering somewhat, that have been party to this

cross-party discussion that

went on today - for example,

Mal Washer, Judy Moyleand.

Is there any indication

they'll vote with the

Government on this bill? I

can't pre-empt how people

will vote. They were part of

the discussions this morning.

Those 40-odd people in that

room were there as people, not politicians. The

politics was taken out of it

this morning. We all had the

same view, that we need a

solution, we need to come up

with something that will stop

those boats from sinking and

seeing more deaths. Now,

when people were in the

chamber, there's different

views. Of course it gets

volatile. I think the debate

thus far, the speech bees

I've seen while I've been in

the chamber, have all been

very good contributions.

It's a very passionate issue.

Many people, as you would

have seen, spoke passionately

about their particular

concerns. I think the

positive is that we are debating something, that

there is a debate taking

place about this issue, and

that we ensure that we move

forward with this and break

the impasse, that we break

that deadlock that has been existing for a long

time. Tony Abbott said today

his position is really

between Labor and the Greens,

it's offshore processing with

protections, and by that he

means only in countries that

have signed the refugee

convention, like Nauru.

That's obviously what their

amendment goes to, ensure

that happens. If it's that

or nothing, will Labor

support that, at least give,

as Malcolm Turnbull said in

the debate, give Nauru a try,

if it doesn't work, try

something else. I think what

the amendments offer today

are no different than what

was on the table a few weeks ago, absolutely no different

from what was on the table by

the Opposition for the last

six months. I think if they

were to have had that view

when they had Nauru in place,

it would have failed that

test. So I don't know what

the next step is from here,

but I do know there is

something on the table in

that parliament that is

palatable to the cross

benchers, to the Labor Party,

and I have to say it's been a

difficult issue for us. It's

not palatable to the Greens

and we don't know about

Andrew Wilkie. Yes, Rob

Oakeshott has put it up, Tony

Windsor backs it we know, but

there is some division on

it. There is some division.

As I said, I can't pre-empt

how the numbers fall at the

end of this debate. We are debating something in

Parliament, that is a

positive. My personal view

is that the member for Lyons'

bill should be supported, I'd

like to see that supported,

because to sit back and do

nothing and just fold our

arms and dig our heels in in

the position we have is

achieving nothing. That's not

what is on the table here,

the offer is an amendment

that would allow Nauru to go

ahead. As I said, I can't

preefrptz how the vote will

go at the end of this

debate. Would you be open to

backing that? I'd be open to

anything taking us

forward. That would be better than the current situation? No, I think you

have to keep in mind that the

Nauru option is exactly what

was on the table for the last

six months. Nothing has

changed. The way those amendments are -- But nothing

has changed from the Labor

Party either. Well, the

Labor Party we have accepted

the bill from Mr Oakeshott,

that's a big shift for us.

That is big movement. I think the Opposition should

move as well, because that is

somewhere in the middle.

They're arguing that the

Malaysia Solution, because Malaysia isn't part of the

UNHCR - the Government has

made agreement with the other Government on a whole range

of things, from education to

health to a whole range of

different things, but to sit

back and do nothing is something that is just not

acceptable, I think. Is it an

indictment in some ways that,

(a), it's taken the

backbenchers to push this

along but, (b), it's taken another close to being a

tragedy, we don't exactly know how many people may have

been lost at sea, but just in

a matter of days. What does

that say to you about the

leadership group of this

parliament? All I can say is

that the group of 40 people

that met today were all

genuine people that have deep

beliefs in ensuring that we

get this moving. Secondly,

after that meeting we heard

of the tragedy that has taken

place again. That showed the

urgency of actually having

something done. So I think

the combination of those

factors created what we're

seeing now in the chamber. If

this gets through the House

of Reps, though, the big

problem as it's always been

has been in the Senate.

Yes. How is there going to be

common ground found there,

because, as we know, we've

got this deadly sort of

triangle of debate where the

Greens, the Opposition and

the Government can't see eye

to eye and you need two of

them, two of the three, to

get it through the Senate.

No-one said it would be easy

to get it through the

Senate. Is it a win to get it

through the House, is it a

start? It is a start, that's

the first step. The process

is we get it through the

House first, I think it's a very good step. Then

negotiations have to continue

and we have to do, as I said,

all we can to ensure people

come to the table and come up

with an agreement. The

situation is unten blg the

way it is at the moment. Just

to be clear on that, though,

if it's untenable the way it

is now, if you can't get

through Labor's preferred opg

of Malaysia plus Nauru, you

do think that the Coalition's

option of Nauru would be preferable to this

situation? Well, look, no, I

don't because I think the

Nauru option may have worked

back then. 95 to 99% of all

people that went to Nauru

came to Australia. That

message is out there with the people smugglers. All the

advice that we're getting is

that it won't prevents people

making that journey, knowing

they'll go to Nauru and then

come to Australia. So you're

saying a continued deadlock

is better than trying Nauru

again? Nauru won't work, we'll be in the same situation where we'll see

boats continuing to come and

people drowning. We need a

solution and a deterrents

that will be put in place,

that will give the message to

those people smugglers that

the options aren't there

anymore. Currently with Nauru those options will still be there, because

towards the end of naur eye the message was out there and

the message is clearly out

there with the people smugglers, you get to Nauru,

get a visa and then come to

Australia. It won't deter a

single boat. We need a

deterrent in place. Just finally the Prime Minister

said if this gets through,

there won't be winners or

losers, it will simply be the

Parliament deciding on it.

She declared this as one of

the issues she would fix as

Prime Minister. If she

doesn't get her way today or

tonight, what's at stake for

her? I think the Prime

Minister has to be commended. After our particular group

met a few days ago, she came

out immediately and said "I'm

at the table ready for

negotiations". It was then

up to Tony Abbott to come to

the table. I think that this

is an issue that is not just

on the Government's head,

it's also on the Opposition's

head. What we have to do is take the politics away from

it. This is an issue that's

dealing with human lives and

human people. We can't go on playing politics with this game. I think the Opposition

has to realise that very

quickly to ensure that we

stop those boats from

sinking. That's what the

Prime Minister has been doing

from day one, trying to get a

clear agreement so we can

ensure that we put something

in place, like the Malaysia

Solution, or Mr Oakeshott's

bill, that will be a

deterrents for those people

smugglers. Steph Georgeanis,

thank you, we'll let you get

back to the house of reps and see how this very important vote goes. Thank you very

much for that. We can tell

you, there has been furious

lobbying going on of some

Liberal moderates who took

part in the cross-party

meeting, like Judy Moylan,

Mal Washer, Tony Crook from

the West Australian

Nationals, Russell Broadbent

is another one that clearly

is being seen as potential

for crossing the floor or

abstaining in this vote.

We've seen the Liberal deputy

Leader Julie Bishop has been,

while Tony Abbott has been on

his feet quite a bit in the

debate, in the ear of these moderates trying to keep them with the Liberal Party in

this vote, but, similarly,

Chris Bowen, Anthony Albanese

and others from the

Government side have been in

their ear as well. The

Greens have been lobbying

too. These moderates, Judy

Moylan, Mal Washer, Russell

Broadbent and Tony Crook from

the Nationals are pivotal.

It was fascinating to watch

from the press gallery into

the chamber. What was going

on behind the scenes was

almost as fascinating as what

was unfolding on your

television screens, as you mentioned there. The other

big and interesting point

that happened was when Sarah

Hanson young, a Senator of

course, came into the

chamber. She was meeting at

various times with Mal

Washer, with Adam Bandt, her

colleague in the lower House,

also Andrew Wilkie, and at

times then Julie Bishop was

going up, talking to her as

well. Really quite fascinating. Some of the

discussions you'd have to

say, I'd have to say, seemed

rather heated at times. For

example, at one point Judy

Moylan looked rather upset -

to me, anyway - about

something that Julie Bishop was saying to her before she

left the chamber. Who knows

exactly what has been talked

about and what has been

decided upon, but we'll know

very shortly. We know

emotions have been running

high through this debate.

Michael Keenan, Liberal frontbencher in tears as he delivered his contribution to

this debate earlier as well.

As you now see we've got

confirmation from the

Australian authorities,

search and rescue

authorities, sadly, there has

been one death confirmed from

this boat capsizing. 136,

though, now have been

rescued, so the first

confirmed fatality. 136

rescued is the good news there. Fortunately those

merchant vessels were very

quick to respond, as we heard

a little earlier. They were

on the scene within hours.

Now we have an Australian

Navy vessel there as well and

another one on its way, so the rescue operation

continues, but, sadly, there

has been one death confirmed.

The search is continuing in that area. While this search

and rescue operation

continues at sea, right out there north of Christmas

Island, halfway to Indonesia

in what must be some

difficult conditions, the

debate is happening on the

floor of Parliament as to

what the Parliamentry

response will be. A lot is

at stake in this debate.

Largely through this debate,

I think it's fair to say, we've heard the standard positions from the Government

and the Opposition and the

Greens' Adam Bandt. No

signal of any shift from

anyone who's contributed to

this debate, there have been

very good contributions on

all sides, but no-one has

signalled, I don't think, any

real shift. Mall con Turnbull gave a good contribution where he

suggested that at least give

Nauru a try, if it doesn't

work then the Prime Minister

can come back and ask for

more. But beyond that

there's not really any signal

here of a willingness to move

one way or the other. Meanwhile, everyone is keeping an eye on those

Liberal moderates. We're

getting various messages from

our sources, some saying that

they are going to vote with

the Government, but just in

the last 15, 20 minutes, news

they might now be back on the

Liberal side to vote against

this Oakeshott bill and also

some rumour that Rob

Oakeshott might vote for the

amendment that Scott Morrison

has moved that knocks out

Malaysia and only keep bees

Nauru in the mix. We'll see.

This is politics live happening in the Parliament

right now. You can watch it

all here. We might take you

back to the House of Reps,

bring you up to date when we

get further developments,

particularly on the search

and rescue operation as it

continues. We'll now return

to the debate on the floor of

the House of Representatives. That's the

major role, we're one of the

few people who can do it, we

can do it because we don't

share a border with a

conflict zone. If we were

Pakistan and we had Afghanis crossing our border, we would

be talking about housing

people for the short term.

If we were Malaysia, with 270,000 asylum seekers in

their borders, we wouldn't be

talking about taking people

from third countries, but we

can. The reason why I

support the Malaysia deal and

why I will vote for Nauru as

well is because I think that

role we play in taking people

from third countries is an increedably important one and

it's a role that we should

take very seriously and we

should grow. As long as the

Australian people start to

worry that our refugee policy

may not be taking the people

that are most in need, as

long as the Australian people

start to lose faith in our

refugee policy because of

people arriving by boats and

the incredible attention on

it, we lose that capacity to

actually grow that very important part of our

program, which is the taking

of refugees from third

countries through the UNHCR.

So, for that reason, I have

to say with great difficulty,

I support the Malaysia deal

and I will walk into this

House and vote for a bill

which also reinstates Nauru.

Now, I would take the

Opposition's position more

seriously in terms of their

commitment to international

conventions, if they could

explain to me why it's not

okay to send people back to

Malaysia for processing

through the UNHCR because

they're not a signatory to

the refugee convention, but

it is okay to turn a boat

back to Indonesia, which is

also not a signatory to the

refugee convention. The contradiction there is quite

profound. It's not okay to

send people back to Malaysia

for processing through the

UNHCR, but it is okay to turn

a boat around and tow it back

to Indonesia for whatever -

presumably not processing

through the UNHCR, even

though both countries have

the same condition in terms

of their refugee treaties.

So, again, I would ask the

Coalition just to acknowledge

that we on this side are

really compromising on this.

This is a genuine compromise

for me and I would really ask

you to do the same. The member's time has expired.

The question is the - I'm

getting ahead of myself. Wishful thinking there. The

question is the amendments be

agreed to. I call the

Manager of Opposition

Business. Thank you, madam

Deputy Speaker. I am pleased

to get the opportunity to

speak on this very important

debate that we are having in the House of Representatives

today. I do wish to speak in support of the member for

Cook's amendments, which

would ensure that no asylum

seeker could be sent for

offshore processing in any

other country other than one

that has signed the United Nations convention on

refugees, of which there are

148 countries. It is a very

important compromise that the

Opposition is offering to the

Government. But, more

importantly than that, I've

been in this parliament 19

years, I've sometimes been

called a moderate, a member

of the small l Liberal

faction of the Liberal Party

and I have been proud to

stick to my principle s for

those 19 years on some

fundamental issues, and I've

often been asked by people to

support views about asylum

seekers to make their

treatment more lenient and

more supportive, to ensure

that women and children are

got out of detention. In the Howard Government I was one

of the members of Parliament

that supported the former

member for Kooyong in his

campaign and the current

member for Peers and other

members in this House, the

member for McMillan, to

ensure that women and

children were not kept in

detention, but in fact

released into the community.

One of the reasons I am so fundamentally opposed to the

Government's Malaysia

Solution is this, in a

nutshell, if the Malaysia

Solution become s law, the

people smugglers will know

that the best people to put

on boats to send to Australia

will be women and children,

because the Government - and I assume they are honest

about this - have said that

they will not repatriate

women and children amongst

the 800 to Malaysia. That

can only mean one outcome.

The outcome will be that

women and children will

become the gold standard for

people smugglers and the

desperate families that try

to make the perilous journey

to Australia. The women and

children will be the gold

standard for people smugglers

to attract their parents,

their fathers will be asked

to send women and children,

knowing that they will not be

repatriated to Malaysia and

knowing that under the family

reunion provisions of the

laws in Australia they will

be able to apply for family

reunion to bring their father

s or their mothers and

fathers to Australia under

our laws. I don't want to be

responsible and I'm sure - I

know I speak for our side of

the House and I know I speak

for many members of the Labor

Caucus - who wants to be

responsible for women and

children being the gold

standard sent on rickety,

unseaworthy boats to Australia so that they can

then apply for family reunion

provisions in Australia to be

reunited with their fathers

or their mothers and fathers?

As terrible as the tragedy s

are that we have experienced

today and last week in the

seas to the north-west of

Australia, as horrific and as

tragic as those events have

been and the reason why we

are debating this this

afternoon instead of Question

Time, while that is horrific,

it will be even more horrific

and it must weigh even more

on the consciences of members

of the Labor Party and the

members of the cross bench

if, in future, women and

children are predominantly on

those boat s because people

smugglers know that women and

children are the gold

standard to send under the

Malaysian Solution proposal.

The Malaysian Solution is the

worst of all possible worlds,

it is the worst policy,

because it makes women and

children the most attractive

option for people smugglers

to send to Australia on boats

potentially to their deaths. I don't want to be

responsible and I certainly

will never vote for the

Malaysian Solution, I will

never vote for the worst

possible outcome of all

worlds, and by voting for the

Morrison amendment, we will

ensure that offshore

processing occurs and it only

occurs with the protections

that are inherent in all

those countries that have

signed the UN convention on

refugees. The member's time

has expired. The question is

the amendments be agreed to. I call the member for

Wakefield. Thank you, Deputy Speaker. The member for

Fadden earlier on in the

debate referred to the Orion

aircraft which is probably on

its way there or on its way back responding to the

terrible tragedy we've seen

off our coast today and those

men and women who fly the

Orions of 92 wing fly out of

my electorate. I've been up

flying with them on a mission

over our seas to our North.

Those service men and women

are very professional and

they are glorious in their

commitment and their duty to

this nation and their courage

should be reflected in our

speeches that we give here

today. I think at the end

this House will either be a

house of courage or we may

well be a house of the

damned. I remember, like the

member for Sterling, being on

the Christmas Island tragedy

committee and I remember the

testimony of border

protection staff, of the

Navy, of Christmas Islanders,

of the Federal Police, the

terrible events of that day,

and I remember the testimony

of the doctor who teched that

she had run out of body bags

on the island and that they

had had to wrap people in

black plastic. These are

terrible things, terrible

events, and since I served on

that committee I've urged my

party, wherever I could, to

adopt unpalatable but

necessary policies to save

lives and to prevent the risk

to life of these boat

journeys and the response to

these boat journeys. We must

remember that there is a risk

to the lives of ADF

personnel, of Federal Police,

of our border protection

staff. The member for

Melbourne talked about the

1970s and our response then,

and we shouldn't forget that,

because it is instructive.

Some 70,000 people came here,

but a mere 1700 by boat. The

rest came out of camps in

Malaysia and Hong Kong and

Thailand, and they came out

because we increased the

intake by a vast degree - not

a mere 25,000, but by tens of

thousands, by tens of thousands. It seems to me

that if the member for

Melbourne is going to

advocate that, he should put

a number on it, and it's a

number bigger than 25,000 if

you want to stop the boats. It's something more like

100,000, I think. So I think

that they have a

responsibility to do that. I

think the Opposition, little

that is nice can be said about their chocolate wheel

of arguments. They've come in here with every argument