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Thursday, 25 September 2014
Page: 7154

Asylum Seekers


Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (14:15): My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator Cash. Tomorrow, the minister for immigration will be visiting Cambodia and then will continue to Geneva. How will the minister explain to the UNHCR, when he goes to Geneva next week, that Australia is removing the refugee convention from the Australian law books?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaAssistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women) (14:15): Given the minister for immigration is not removing the convention from the law books, I believe that question is irrelevant.


Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (14:16): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. For the record, I hope the assistant minister for immigration gets up to speed with the new bill which has been tabled in the house today. What has Australia offered the Cambodian government in exchange for becoming Australia's newest dumping ground for refugees?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaAssistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women) (14:16): I have to say, Senator Hanson-Young's comments in relation to the government of Cambodia and the people of Cambodia are quite frankly demeaning. Australia and Cambodia, as Senator Hanson-Young would well be aware, are both signatories to the refugee convention and they both share a common commitment to achieving humanitarian outcomes for their region. The minister will be visiting Cambodia tomorrow and, on completion of the minister's meeting, the details of any arrangement will be announced. But I do reiterate for the Senate that Cambodia is a signatory to the refugee convention and at all times shares a strong commitment to ensuring that the rights of refugees are upheld.


Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (14:17): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Can the minister explain how the government will keep safe young women and unaccompanied children from sexual exploitation and rape, which are currently on the rise in Cambodia?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaAssistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women) (14:18): Again, perhaps Senator Hanson-Young has not listened to the explanations which have been given in relation to the details which have been release. The arrangements to go to Cambodia will be completely voluntary. If a person volunteers to be resettled in Cambodia they will be. If they do not ask to be resettled in Cambodia they will not be. But I have to say, given that Senator Hanson-Young and the Australian Greens supported policies which saw women and children die at sea, which saw women and children in their thousands put behind bars in detention centres, yet again Senator Hanson-Young and her hypocrisy are on display in the Senate.