Why we occupied parliament

December 3, 2016

The Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizen’s Alliance and other refugee activists interrupted Question Time at 2pm on November 30 because there is no opposition to cruelty in our parliament.

We came to parliament because the Australian government has become a world leader in cruelty. 

Seven of us were superglued to the balustrade and 30 of us inside the chamber spoke in unison: “We are here today because you are all complicit in the murder, rape, torture and child abuse of refugees”. 

We came to parliament because Manus Island, Nauru and Christmas Island are death camps. We want every single person in offshore detention to be evacuated immediately and brought to Australia, and that’s exactly what we told the MPs.

We read a four-minute script together that left the Liberal Party members fleeing the chamber and reduced some of the Labor Party women to tears. Others heckled us and Bill Shorten called us “disrespectful”. 

We came to parliament because we face a humanitarian crisis that requires the closure of all offshore detention centres immediately.

The act of seeking asylum has been criminalised, with bipartisan support. This has led to bipartisan deterrence policies that legislate human rights abuses and make life an indefinite hell for refugees.

We came to parliament because this is not right; it is playing politics with people’s lives and it is breaking our hearts. 

Our representatives have failed every single person seeking asylum. Australian refugee policy is separating families and killing innocent people. Our government is using our money to abuse refugees and we are saying this madness must stop. 

Our representatives have failed us. So we have been driven to intervene. They are not leaders, but fear mongers who have lost their moral compass and have blood on their hands.

White Australia is built on the unacknowledged spilt blood of Aboriginal peoples, and the refugee policy is an extension of that violent colonialism.

Until the Australian government proposes to oppose cruelty by closing all the detention centres and providing justice for refugees by bringing them here, we will not stop fighting.

We have boundless plains to share. It is our duty as human beings to welcome those who need our help with open arms and to recognise and embrace their knowledge and contributions to society.

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Issue