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Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Page: 5056


Mr CREWTHER (Dunkley) (16:30): I am very pleased today to talk about home affairs, citizenship and multicultural affairs in relation to consideration in detail. Relevant to the Home Affairs portfolio, I am secretary of the backbench committee for home affairs, and chair of the Foreign Affairs and Aid Subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. We undertook the modern slavery inquiry last year, which has now led to the proposed modern slavery bill which will be introduced soon by the coalition government through the Home Affairs portfolio.

I note that Australia is a nation of immigrants. Our culture is strongly influenced by the many backgrounds of those who make up our communities. Some of Dunkley's residents' backgrounds, other than Australian, of course, include British, Irish, German, Italian, Dutch, Chinese, Greek, Indian, New Zealand, Polish, French, Thai, South Sudanese and more. After English, in Dunkley the most common spoken languages at home are Greek, Mandarin, Italian, German and Malayalam.

The plight of Yazidis in the Syria and Iraq conflict is also something that I have talked about recently. It's a subject on which I have learnt a lot about very quickly and of which I am striving to make people aware. I moved a motion in parliament recently, recognising the genocide against them by ISIS. Nihad, a woman I met in London as part of my committee's modern slavery inquiry, is a Yazidi person who was captured by ISIS, sold and raped, and has never seen the baby she gave birth to since. She has since begun a new life in Australia and had her application for Australia's protection accepted. It is a great credit to the Minister for Home Affairs and other ministers under the Home Affairs portfolio for giving her and many other Yazidis and persecuted minorities another lease of life. There are many individuals affected in Australia. There are plenty of people who move to Australia who want to begin a new life and who we need to help.

In relation to the Yazidi motion that I moved in parliament a couple of months ago, the Yazidi community here want to integrate, but also want to share their stories so that Australians are aware of their plight. Hundreds of Yazidis have settled in Australia and several thousand are from Iraq and Syria. This year, Australia has accepted 18,750 people fleeing persecution. Nihad, the person I mentioned before, said:

I don't want to come just to see the Yazidis; I want to change my life, I want to change everything … Australia will become my first home and my last one.

Many people who move to Australia want to live an Australian way of life and want to integrate into our community, especially those subject to the trauma of these kinds of experiences.

Locally, the South Sudanese community in my electorate of Dunkley are also working through a number of different organisation whose are helping them to integrate. One is the Sudanese homework and learning club in partnership with MiCare, the New Hope Foundation, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Woodley School, helping young Sudanese students get the support and build the networks they need. Also St Peter's Lutheran and Karingal Uniting Church has a large South Sudanese congregation, and I recently joined them for the installation of their new special pastor, Peter Deng.

This leads me to my question, which is on a very important issue for the Yazidis, the South Sudanese and others in my community, I might add. Minister, many people, when they move to Australia, want to begin new lives and embrace their new community. The Fostering Integration Grants program announced in the 2018-19 federal budget looks like it will work towards these aims in helping the Azidi community, the local South Sudanese community and many others. Can you please tell us more about this grants program and other programs helping these communities?