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Thursday, 24 May 2018
Page: 4591

Immigration Detention


Mr BANDT (Melbourne) (14:15): My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. On Tuesday morning, Salim, a Rohingya refugee on Manus Island, died under your watch. By Tuesday afternoon, the government had leaked information to the press about this man, and a negative story soon appeared. By late Wednesday afternoon, you still hadn't notified his wife about his death, and when someone from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre called to comfort her it turned out she was unaware of it. Minister, is it now government policy to leak to the media about the death of someone under your care and not notify next of kin, and doesn't this fundamental lack of human decency show that there's simply no line you won't cross?


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Home Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:16): I thank the member for his question. I'm not going to take a morals lecture from the Greens when it comes to border protection policy. The government hasn't leaked information as claimed by the honourable member. Again, we can only look to his track record when he was in coalition with the Labor Party. The fact is, tragically, 1,200 people drowned at sea when Labor and the Greens unwound John Howard's policies. That was a tragedy. In the current debate going on within the civil war in the Labor Party, it seems that they want to return, tragically, to those days. There were 8,000 children put into detention, and we have got those children out of detention. Under the plan proposed by Labor and the Greens, there was no plan to take people off Manus—

The SPEAKER: The member for Melbourne—I'm trying to give the call, but it's a bit hard if he's on his feet already yelling.

Mr Bandt: A point of order on relevance: it was a very specific question, and the minister can answer it.

The SPEAKER: The minister has the call. He is on the policy topic; I am listening carefully.

Mr DUTTON: I make this point, and I've made it publicly before: I haven't put anyone on Manus Island; you did. I am charged with getting those people off, and I'm doing it. This government—not the government that you were in coalition with, the Rudd and the Gillard governments—has brokered a deal to get 1,200 people off Manus and Nauru. So, if you don't mind, I'm not going to take a morals lecture from you, because the fact is that you are responsible for more deaths than you realise. That's the reality for the Greens. They can come in and moralise all they want—I find it completely unacceptable, Mr Speaker. I would ask that the unparliamentary language that the member for Lilley has used be withdrawn. I find his comments highly offensive.

The SPEAKER: Members on both sides, I'm struggling to hear what the member for Lilley was saying. I could certainly see him. Did the member for Lilley make an unparliamentary remark?

Mr Swan: I did, and I withdraw.

The SPEAKER: The minister has the call. The minister has finished.