Parliamentary speeches


February 16, 2021

Three years, more than 1,000 days—that's how long Priya, Nades and their two Australian-born daughters, Kopika, now five, and Tharunicaa, now three, have been in immigration detention. That's how long they've been away from their home, the place they belong, Biloela, having been so cruelly ripped away from there in the dead of night. I respect the decision made today by the full Federal Court, and it's now time for decency and common sense to prevail. It's time for the new Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs to do the right thing: to let Priya, Nades and their children go home to Bilo, where they are wanted and where they are loved. Recently, the Minister for Home Affairs spoke of cost in explaining why medevac refugees had been released into community detention. Well, members opposite, what about the cost of this—those millions of dollars spent detaining these people out of sight, but not out of Australians' minds, on Christmas Island? What is the cost to us as a nation, to our soul, of this senseless and shameful cruelty? What, most fundamentally, is the cost to these four precious lives? Minister Hawke, you can end this now. So I say to you—it's my plea—do the right thing. It is time for this family to go home to Bilo.