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Monday, 26 November 2018
Page: 11357

Mr BANDT (Melbourne) (13:42): I stand today to acknowledge the Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children. Last Tuesday I met a group of grandmothers who are taking action and saying that no refugee child should be trapped in detention. Australians have been horrified to see the impacts of cruel, prolonged and indefinite detention on refugee children and their parents. Hundreds of children have been kept in offshore detention over the years on Nauru and Manus, and it's destroying them and their families. The children must be taken to Australia and they must be released from detention. Scandalously, many of the children who've already suffered and faced lasting damage have reportedly been locked up again in Australia. According to reports, as of last week 13 children who'd been on Nauru were locked up in the MITA detention centre in Melbourne. Kids don't belong in detention, whether it's in Manus, Nauru or Melbourne.

Grandmothers have been fighting this for years, and they continue to do so. To the grandmothers I met last week I say: thank you for fighting for what is right. Last Tuesday was Universal Children's Day. Grandmothers joined teachers in Melbourne and elsewhere in the country to say that no child should be in detention. Labor and Liberal continue to hold up the system of offshore detention they created and have backed in, in lock step, for years. It is shameful. To Labor and Liberal politicians, to the Prime Minister, and to the Leader of the Opposition I say: stop this cruelty and listen to the grandmothers and everyone else who is speaking up for children.