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Monday, 3 December 2018
Page: 12172


Mr WILKIE (Denison) (11:24): I second the motion and I commend the member for Wentworth for the good work she's already done in this place in a very short time. Australia's response to asylum seekers is illegal in international law and deeply immoral. It is especially abhorrent that we have been locking up children and denying children and adults the urgent medical care they need. I struggle to think of anything worse than to do that—to be denying adults and to be denying children the urgent medical care that they need and, indeed, for Border Force officers to be wilfully ignoring the advice of medical professionals. Who do they think they are? What right do they think they have to be ignoring the advice of medical professionals?

It's great that the member for Wentworth has brought this bill to the House today. I struggle to believe that the government or the opposition would not support this bill, because this bill is a good thing; it's a humanitarian thing. It's what the community wants. Frankly, it beggars belief that doctors are being ignored. It is a fact that Border Force officers are routinely failing to act on medical advice. We now know as a fact that most of the children that have been evacuated from Nauru this year have only been evacuated by order of the Federal Court or by threat of such legal action. So it is a downright lie from the government when they say that people are being evacuated when it is being recommended, because it is a fact that most people have only been evacuated by order of a court. And it is a lie when the government says that the asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island and Nauru have adequate medical care, because they don't. It's probably symbolised no better than by the fact that the only psychiatrist at the Nauru hospital is a Cuban that speaks Spanish and doesn't speak English and doesn't speak any of the languages from South Asia or from the Middle East, and there are no translators on Nauru! I can't think of a better example of how woefully inadequate the health facilities and medical facilities are in those two places. It is the same on Manus, where there are hundreds of men incarcerated—and incarcerated they are; they're prison islands.

I commend the bill to the House and I plead with the government and I plead with the opposition to support this bill and to get these sick kids and these sick adults to Australia quick smart. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Rob Mitchell ): The time allotted for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting.