McGowan calls for hu­mane ap­proach

MP says govt crossed line over refugees

Alpine Observer - - Myrtleford Show - By JAMIE KRON­BORG

THE House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is to con­tinue de­bat­ing a mo­tion put by Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) last week in which she pressed the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to find “ur­gent and hu­mane so­lu­tions” to re­set­tle asy­lum seek­ers away from Pa­pua New Guinea and Nauru.

Ms McGowan said she had spo­ken in re­cent weeks with the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees and Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull and had asked ques­tions in par­lia­ment about the fate of 773 asy­lum seek­ers on Manus Is­land and others on Nauru.

The re­gional off­shore pro­cess­ing cen­tre on Manus was to close yes­ter­day – Oc­to­ber 31 – and the gov­ern­ment has moved to re­lo­cate asy­lum seek­ers within PNG.

It also with­drew cur­rent med­i­cal and men­tal health care, tor­ture and trauma sup­port and se­cu­rity pro­tec­tion for de­tainees last week.

Ms McGowan said she had been “to­tally unim­pressed by the re­sponse” she re­ceived.

“I was in grade five when I first un­der­stood the link be­tween val­ues and be­hav­iours,” she told the Fed­er­a­tion Cham­ber.

“My ethics teacher ex­plained that in life it is easy for peo­ple to en­dorse val­ues, things, at­tributes and char­ac­ter­is­tics, but it is be­hav­iours that give the ev­i­dence to these val­ues.

“( The teacher) asked us to imag­ine at the end of our lives one or two im­por­tant val­ues and the be­hav­iours that we had en­acted to show that we had lived by those val­ues.

“Then she asked if there would be enough ev­i­dence to con­vict us.

“Her spe­cific ex­am­ple was Chris­tian­ity, the judge was God and the ev­i­dence was how we had lived our lives.

“In the four years I’ve worked in this par­lia­ment there has been lots of dis­cus­sion and de­bate about val­ues— Aus­tralian val­ues and com­mu­nity val­ues—and I be­lieve that’s ex­actly how it should be.”

Ms McGowan said it was the role of a par­lia­men­tar­ian to de­bate val­ues, cul­tural norms and ex­pected be­hav- iours.

“In this de­bate to­day, I’d like to talk about four spe­cific val­ues—re­spect; duty of care; fair go for the un­der­dog; and habeas cor­pus, the right to a fair trial by your peers and pun­ish­ments that fit the crime—and the be­hav­iours that would pro­vide ev­i­dence that we are liv­ing those val­ues,” she said.

“… In re­spect of be­hav­iours and ev­i­dence, we have seen in­def­i­nite de­ten­tion, se­vere health is­sues and very or­di­nary peo­ple de­tained with­out trial be­cause they fled from where they came with a well-founded fear of per­se­cu­tion. “

Ms McGowan said she un­der­stood the gov­ern­ment’s ar­gu­ment to pro­tect Aus­tralia’s borders, but she be­lieved that the gov­ern­ment had “crossed the line” in its treat­ment of Manus de­tainees.

“The ev­i­dence shows that we’re be­hav­ing badly, that we’re be­com­ing a bully, that we are very cruel, that we are un­fair and, sadly, that we are not be­ing our best selves.”

Adam Bandt (MHR, Mel­bourne) sec­onded the mo­tion. The de­bate is to con­tinue.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.