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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Speech ADJOURNMENT Asylum Seekers Tuesday, 27 May 2014 Clive Palmer – Member for Fairfax Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (21:10): It is as old as the Scriptures and as clear as night and day: we face on Manus Island a moral dilemma that tests the very fabric of the nation, that tests whether Australia can survive as a nation. The test is whether a nation lawfully constituted and founded by and on the rule of law can survive and remain true to its foundations, whether we can honour the legacy of those who fought in world wars to free those in arbitrary detention in concentration camps— to stop the murder by the guards of inmates imprisoned in German concentration camps; to stop the murder of those who had been incarcerated without charge, without crime and without a hearing. All Australians, other than our Indigenous brothers and sisters, have come from all the lands of the world. What Australian would give up his or her lot to change positions with those incarcerated on Manus Island? What Australian would be happy to give up their life for one at the hands of untrained, unrestrained guards, authorised and paid for by the Australian government and Australian taxpayers? We cannot avoid the fact that a person was killed and serious injuries inflicted on many people while they were under the care and protection of the Australian government. The difference between what happened at Manus Island and any other deaths is that this death and maiming occurred while the deceased was in Australian custody. Nothing justifies the erosion of Australian respect for human rights, the rights of all of us and the rule of law. As has been said, an injustice done to one man anywhere is an injustice done to all men everywhere. Australian citizens employed to provide protection ran away when it was clear that they could not stop the murderous activity of the Australian-government-retained PNG guards and associates at Manus Island. I have been informed that the person killed ran for his life but was captured and placed on a grate where the captors struck his head, inflicting fatal injuries. He was so badly bashed that his head was not recognisable to those who knew him well. This is not about the government policy of stopping the boats. I am not suggesting that. But it is intolerable that security arrangements can be contracted out, that security is not in the control of the Australian police, state or federal, or that the Army is not deployed to ensure the safety of those who are incarcerated through the actions of the Australian government. The minister must do whatever is necessary to remove from active duty on Manus all individuals that were involved in the mayhem at Manus. The minister must ensure proper protection for all families and individuals under our care. The Australian government must not allow the killing of innocent people placed in its care. Compensation needs to be paid by the Australian government now, without delay, to the family of the murdered detainee and to those who were severely injured. There is no basis under PNG, international or Australian law for what occurred on Manus Island. Who among us would want to be on Manus Island if the guards were to come for us? As history tells us and as was said in respect of the treatment of detainees in another place, at an earlier time: ‘First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no-one left to speak for me.’ We cannot let this incident destroy the values of Australia. 78 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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