Asylum Seekers – PM Gillard’s Statement

Yesterday, regular Question Time in the House moved aside and Asylum Seekers took centre stage, from 2PM until 8PM, our elected representatives talked about refugees.

First up was Prime Minister Gillard, as the PM said ‘No-one won, no-one lost; we just got something done’. Here is part of what was said, edited for clarity:

Prime Minister Gillard (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:00):
I can advise the House that a major rescue operation is underway right now, 107 nautical miles north of Christmas Island and 100 nautical miles south of Indonesia. As this parliament sits, we have planes in the air and merchant vessels on the scene and HMAS Maitland has arrived. The information I will give the House now is the latest information available.

In view of these events and in view of the events of last week, I want to say to the parliament now most sincerely that I believe the time for the party divide on this issue is at an end. We have seen too much tragedy, and I cannot—and I do not believe other members of parliament can—now sit here with the prospect of more tragedy to come.

In these circumstances I have requested that Mr Oakeshott be prepared at this moment to bring on his bill on immigration amendments so that the House can now, I hope, by leave and in agreement, deal with it to finality. As the House may be aware, that bill has finalised its second reading and, consequently, we would just need to deal with the third reading stages of the bill.

I actually think it is of significance to this parliament that this is a bill brought to this place by an Independent member of parliament. Given all of the circumstances here, I, as the Labor leader, would want to walk from this place saying, ‘No-one won, no-one lost; we just got something done.’ And I think an Independent member’s bill gives us all the opportunity to do just that—to go from this place saying: ‘No-one won; no-one lost. It wasn’t about party politics. It wasn’t about who has got what sort of party ticket in their pocket. We just worked together to get something done.’

I have reason to believe that the bill moved by Mr Oakeshott may be in a position to command majority support in this House of Representatives. I seek to have that tested now and the bill dealt with to finality.

Source: Hansard
BILLS; Migration Legislation Amendment (The Bali Process) Bill 2012;Consideration in Detail;Division – 27 Jun 2012

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