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Monday, 18 June 2018
Page: 3062

Immigration Detention


Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (14:48): My question is to Senator Fifield, representing the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Minister, I refer you to the death last week on Nauru of Fariborz, a man who sought Australia's—did I hear a laugh over there?

The PRESIDENT: Senator McKim, please continue your question.

Senator McGrath: No-one laughed, you goose.

Senator McKIM: Someone's died. Show a little bit of respect.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order around the chamber! Order on my right! Senator McKim, please continue your question.

Senator McKIM: Fariborz was a man who sought Australia's protection and who had been detained on Nauru by the Australian government since 2013. Minister, can you confirm that Fariborz had been psychologically assessed while in Australia's care on Nauru and determined to be severely traumatised and mentally ill? Do you acknowledge that your policy of indefinite offshore detention caused or contributed to Fariborz's death?







Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:50): Thank you, Senator McKim, for your question. I can confirm that there was a death of a nonrefugeein the Nauru Regional Processing Centre. The government extends its condolences to the family and friends of the individual. I can confirm that the government of Nauru is currently investigating the cause of death. I can also confirm that, in response to a request from the government of Nauru, the AFP is providing assistance to the government of Nauru in their investigations of this incident. I'm happy to provide that information for Senator McKim.

The PRESIDENT: Senator McKim, a supplementary question.



Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (14:50): Minister, the Liberal Party's official Twitter account released a video boasting about your record on offshore detention the very day after Fariborz took his life. Were you hoping to get a political boost out of this man's death? Why did you boast about your political cruelty instead of working to prevent more deaths in your cruel offshore detention regime?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:51): I'm not aware of the material that Senator McKim is referring to, but I'm certain that there is absolutely no connection between those two things. To suggest that there is is base and really not worthy of a response, because no grouping in this parliament would do such a thing.

The PRESIDENT: Senator McKim, a final supplementary question.



Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (14:51): Minister, how many deaths—it's 12 now—in Australia's offshore detention system will it take before you show just a shred of humanity and evacuate everyone out of offshore detention to safety here in Australia? How much larger must the stain on our country's national conscience grow before you will close down offshore detention?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:52): The approach that this government takes to border protection and offshore processing has a very important objective, and that is to put the people-smuggling trade out of business, because, when the people smugglers are plying their trade, they put people in harm's way. Through their activities, they have resulted in many people perishing at sea. It is because of the clear action that this government has taken, in terms of our border protection policies, that that trade has essentially been put out of business and countless thousands of lives have, as a result, been saved.