04 February 2021

 

I rise today to send my best wishes to the refugees who were recently released from places of detention in Melbourne. After eight years of horrendous detention at the hands of this Liberal government, I was so thrilled that these people are experiencing the simple joys of seeing the night sky and getting a meal in a restaurant. I know their journey isn't over. They remain on bridging visas, creating ongoing stress and anxiety, and so many people are only just now getting the proper medical treatment that they have been waiting for.

 

To all of those who spent years demanding their release, who spent weeks and days out protesting their incarceration, well done. I know our community is already wrapping around this group, providing housing, friendship and support. Thank you.

 

Of course, the Minister for Home Affairs tried to spin the release of some refugees as merely a cost-saving measure. If that is the case, I call on the minister to release the beloved Biloela family who are currently detained on Christmas Island at a cost of $27 million. There are still so many refugees locked up, because this government prefers to punish people rather than find safe, permanent homes for them. Indefinite detention is a national shame and it must end.