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Adam Bandt demands freedom for Park Hotel refugees

Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt MP, has demanded freedom for 12 refugees imprisoned in the Park Hotel in his electorate of Melbourne, ahead of a rally this weekend calling for their release.

Mr Bandt will attend this weekend's COVID-safe rally at the Park Hotel in Carlton, organised by the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF), It has been endorsed by dozens of groups and individuals, including the Victorian Greens. 

“The Australian government must release all of the refugees in the Park Hotel immediately," Mr Bandt said.

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Release of refugees from hotel detention a belated humanitarian step

 

The overdue release of dozens of refugees from immigration detention is a very welcome glimmer of humanity in Australia’s refugee policy, Greens Immigration Spokesperson Senator Nick McKim says.

“These men have been through so much for so long, and for them now to be able to breathe free air is a wonderful step forward for them,” Senator McKim said. 

“There are still over 150 people who suffered through years of offshore detention detained in Australia. They should also be immediately released.”

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Motion: Migrant Workers

I'd like to inform the chamber that Senator McKim will be co-sponsoring this motion with me. I, and also on behalf of Senator McKim, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) 2020 has been an incredibly tough year for temporary visa holders in Australia, including migrant workers and international students,

(ii) according to the Migrant Worker Justice Initiative, 70% of temporary visa holders lost their jobs or most of their hours after the pandemic hit in March,

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Budget shows cuts to humanitarian intake

Cutting 20,000 places from Australia's humanitarian intake is cruel and unnecessary, Greens Immigration spokesperson Nick McKim says.

"The Liberals' decision to reduce Australia's humanitarian intake from 18,750 to 13,750 for the next four years is devastating to displaced people around the world and the millions of Australians who want a compassionate refugee policy," Senator McKim said.

"That is 20,000 men, women and children who will remain displaced because of deliberate decisions taken by this Government."

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Speech: International Students

I have spoken numerous times in this chamber about the government's failure to support international students during COVID-19. Sadly, since I spoke on this matter in June the situation has deteriorated even further for the hundreds of thousands of international students who have been left high and dry. Students who are greedily welcomed here are then treated as cash cows.

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Prohibited Items Bill

The Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2020 is irredeemable and must be rejected by the Senate, the Greens say in their Dissenting Report to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry.

”The amendments proposed by this Bill are punitive, disproportionate and contrary to Australia's international human rights commitments,” Greens Immigration spokesperson Senator Nick McKim said.

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Behrouz Boochani

Comments from Greens Immigration spokesperson Senator Nick McKim on New Zealand's decision to grant asylum to Behrouz Boochani:

"New Zealand granting asylum to Behrouz Boochani shows what true compassion from a government looks like, and shows Australia’s polices up for the cruel and dangerous disgrace that they are."

"This is bittersweet news. Behrouz is free at last but so many others remain in exile or in prison. We have stolen their hope and their dreams, and it’s time to give them back."

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Prohibited Items Bill

The Government’s latest attempt to prohibit items in immigration detention centres is a massive overreach, Greens Immigration spokesperson Nick McKim says.

“This is a transparent attempt to cut people in immigration detention off from the outside world,” Senator McKim said.

“Phones in immigration detention are absolutely essential.”

“They allow people to stay in touch with friends and family, and they also help shine the disinfectant of sunlight on abuses which are all too common.”

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Motion: International Students

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) over 550,000 international students currently study in Australia, contributing immensely to our community and economy,

   (ii) many of these students are suffering enormous financial hardship at the moment due to unemployment, wage losses and instability during COVID-19,

   (iii) students have been forced to queue at food banks, live in cramped accommodation, and rely on the charity of others in order to eat and make ends meet,

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