Committees - Human Rights Committee - Report

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (16:58): That presentation from a disgusting excuse for an Australian should be called out.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Whish-Wilson, you have a point of order?

Senator Whish-Wilson: I have a point of order. It's totally unparliamentary to reflect on Senator McKim like that.

Senator McGrath: Considering what he said in his speech—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator McGrath, you are not helping.

Senator Whish-Wilson: Senator Macdonald has been here for long enough to know that that's totally unacceptable. I ask him to withdraw that.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I will ask Senator Macdonald to withdraw that. He might like to find a different turn of phrase.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I withdraw, Madam Deputy President, in deference to your ruling, unlike the Greens political party, which are full of hypocrisy. They have just demonstrated this with that point of order. It's okay for Senator McKim to accuse other senators in this chamber of 'blood on their hands', but, when I call him an 'excuse for an Australian', they immediately take a point of order. The hypocrisy knows no bounds.

If people are interested in this debate—and I suspect that, apart from the five of them sitting over that side, nobody is—the people who were genuinely responsible for deaths were the Labor Party and the Greens political party, who supported the Labor Party at the time when they were encouraging criminal people smugglers to bring people illegally into this country. These were not poor refugees. These were wealthy people who were paying a large sum of money to fly to Indonesia and then paying criminal people smugglers $15,000 per person to smuggle them illegally across to Australia. And this illegal activity was then, and is now, being supported by the Greens political party. I often wonder what sorts of kickbacks there may have been to the Greens political party from the people smugglers, or others, who were making a fortune out of this vile criminal activity.

We know there is one political party that does have blood on its hands, and that is the political party that supported the then government and caused the known deaths of some 1,200 people. We suspect that there were many thousands more, but there were known deaths of at least 1,200 men, women and children, which never raised a concern from the Greens political party. They just accepted that, because their mates in the Labor Party were in government. They were encouraging them. The Greens were keeping them in power. We know there were 1,200 deaths.

Mr Acting Deputy President, I have the honour of chairing the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee but the misfortune to have to put up with the sorts of lies you have heard in this chamber just recently from another senator, the absolute and abject mistruths about what is happening on Manus and Nauru. These were arrangements—I might remind anyone who is interested—that were put in place by the former Labor government, with the support of the coalition, because it was really reinstating the policies that the Howard government had put in place over a period of time that had stopped the flow of illegal immigrants into Australia. The Howard government had done that. The Labor Party came to power, opened up the floodgates, caused the deaths of at least 1,200 people and had over 2,000 children in detention—and you never heard a whimper from the Greens, because it was their mates in the Labor Party who did it.

The government changed, and what happened? We stopped the deaths at sea. No longer were people losing their lives because of the actions of the Greens political party and the previous Labor Party government. But the Labor Party government put these people into Manus and Nauru, and the Greens political party supported it at the time, because their mates in the Labor Party were the ones doing it. Fortunately Mr Rudd, in his second term as Prime Minister, started the process of stopping the boats. It's a process that the coalition government has continued. I'm proud to say it has been literally years now since we've had any illegal immigrants into Australia or any deaths at sea. The Greens are so concerned about deaths, but they never whimpered about the 1,200 people who we know were killed as a result of these policies. Because I'm chair of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, this argument comes up all the time, first of all by Senator Hanson—she would always burst into tears at the appropriate time—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Sterle ): Senator Macdonald, I have not been in your committee, but have you got the right senator? I can feel the vibe coming from Senator Hanson!

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I meant Senator Hanson-Young, I'm sorry. My apologies, Senator Hanson. Should I ever equate with you Senator Hanson-Young deliberately, I will cut my wrists. I would never do that; I would never insult you in that way. But we first of all had Senator Hanson-Young bursting into tears at the appropriate time in every speech she made, but at least she was better than their current spokesman, Senator McKim, who barely can be represented as an Australian. He says he does not recognise his country when we're talking about this. I say to Senator McKim: your country would not want to recognise you, and perhaps you should go back to the place of your birth.

We have been through this time and time again. Everything we have heard from Senator McKim is a fabrication. This accusation of torture might excite a few of the GetUp! people and a few of the Greens political party's few members, but most Australians know that is a positive and deliberate lie. There is no torture there. In fact, if we talk just for a moment about Manus, I happened to be up in PNG and speaking to the local member for Manus in the PNG parliament. It is a sovereign country, and I understand what's happening there. This particular centre was shut down on the orders of the PNG supreme court, which the Greens political party applauded. They applauded the fact that the PNG supreme court had ordered this centre to be shut down.

It was shut down and three alternative places of accommodation were built. I tell you, it was better accommodation than most Australians living outside of the capital cities have. It had all the food, all the clothing, all the support and all the air-conditioning as the other centres on Manus. Those in that centre, which the supreme court said must be shut down, were free to go to any of these other centres where they would be properly cared for, yet Senator McKim calls this torture.

On Nauru, again, these are not people who were invited to Australia. They're not poor refugees. They are wealthy people trying to get into the promised land, the land promised by the people smugglers, which continues to be promised by a group of lawyers and the Greens political party in Australia. Keep on encouraging these people and giving them false hope that they will again one day be able to come illegally into Australia.

Australia has a great reputation for accepting genuine refugees. In fact, per capita, I think Australia is No. 2 or No. 3 in the world in generosity for accepting genuine refugees into this country, who we look after, as we should. Australia has nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to our concern for and helping of genuine refugees. These people in Nauru and Manus can leave at any time they like. Those who have been determined by the UNHCR to be genuine refugees can go to the United States or other countries or they can return home. We have examples of certain refugees who claim they would be murdered if they went home. We have examples, not in Manus or Nauru but in Australia, of them going back on holidays to the country that they claim they can't return to because they'll be put to death. Now, Madam Acting Deputy President, this debate—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald, I know you're passionate in your defence, but Madam Acting Deputy President left.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Oh, sorry.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I know I've been accused of a few things lately, but I'm still a bloke!

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I'm sorry, Mr Acting Deputy President. As you know, that is a slip of the tongue. I do get very passionate when I hear the lies told about our country, our officials and our public dollars when you hear the Greens political party. (Time expired)

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