Opinion pieces, speeches & transcripts

Speech at National Conference on fast track reviews

December 17, 2018

Three years ago we had a tough conversation at the National Conference in Melbourne. Murray Watt, who is now a Senator, I’m not sure that’s a promotion mate, put forward a couple of motions that generated a big debate. I don’t think there is too many people who doubt that we emerged stronger from that conference stronger because we had that debate.

Not every issue in our party can be resolved. We’ve resolved many by discussion and we’ll continue. But this forum is where we tease out those matters that we can’t reach agreement on. I’m very proud to be able stand on this stage and put forward a proposition and engage in that debate with someone that I admire and respect in Shayne Neumann.

This amendment has only a few words, but they are weighty words, because they go to really matters of life and death. I’m incredibly proud that our platform as it stands commits us to abolishing the unfair so-called fast track assessment process and I think that is something we can all be proud of.

I’m asking you, delegates, friends, to take the next step, the logical step and protect the rights of those people who may have been unfairly denied them through the operation of this process.

This proposition affects thousands of people in Australia, many of whom have been here for a long time. They have not been given the chance to make their case for protection. This resolution will give them this chance.

Let me be really clear about one thing delegates, and this is the last point but I think it is the critical point, this proposition that I am putting before you, seconded by Senator Watt, has been described by some as offering asylum seekers a second chance. That’s not true, it’s a lie. It is offering them a chance. It is offering them the opportunity to exercise their human right to seek asylum in Australia.

I urge you friends to support this resolution.