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Monday, 21 May 2018
Page: 4062


Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (16:56): Firstly, I want to acknowledge and thank the member for Fowler for bringing this heartfelt motion before the chamber. Can I say to the member for Fowler that more recently, when a delegation from this place attended Vietnam for the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, the issue was debated rigorously there by our Asian neighbours. It was only just at that stage that I got a sense of the magnitude of the issue that's before us. Without being coy or disrespectful, I would suggest that if I were to walk up the main street of most of the small regional communities in my electorate and ask them to give me an overview of what's going on with the Rohingyan community, they would be blind to the atrocities that the member for Fowler shared with the House so eloquently. So on behalf of the government I want to stand and acknowledge the contribution that he has made in raising this as an issue in the House.

It is an issue that I do not profess to be a specialist in. Rather, I would speak openly to suggest that there would be very few in this place who would not have compassion, as Australians, for that community being persecuted. From a more affirmative perspective, the Bangladeshi community—a poor community within its own capacity— are doing an amazing job to be housing these people on their border. It can bring a sense of embarrassment to a country full of riches.

In closing, I'd just like to acknowledge the member for Fowler for bringing this to the attention of the House.