Advocates demand Parliamentary Discourse changes following refugee suicide
Speaker Harry Jenkins MP: Advocates demand Parliamentary Discourse changes following refugee suicide
Mr Al Akabi's refugee assessment files should be part of Inquiry following his death
"The suicide of Mr Ahmad Obeid Al Akabi in the Villawood detention centre last night should shock Parliamentarians in
Canberra, and if they had a decent bone in them, it should stop the ghastly baiting, the near-unbearable howls and
screams about "stopping the boats" and the use of disgraceful terms such as "illegals" and "illegal boats" from Tony
Abbott and Scott Morrison, who brazenly re-create old and tested lies and misinformation in their quest to fish for the
xenophobic vote," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"Mr Harry Jenkins in his role as Speaker of the House has many instruments available to him to uphold the standards of
the Parliamentary debate. It is incredulous that while Australia as a nation has signed and ratified the United Nations
Convention for the Status of Refugees, nothing happens when politicians act like drunks, vile bandits and brazen liars
in implicitly and deliberately misrepresenting the norms and values of that Convention, a legally enforceable instrument
which is clear about the legality of the maritime asylum journey and which sets in motion Australia's legally defined
response of decency," spokesman Mr Smit said.
"Parliamentarians in The House are to uphold Australian law at all times. The language, the talk and the discourse
spewed forth from Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison on a constant basis, defiles Australia as a nation, and it places
serious questions over their ethical commitment to the UN Convention and definitions to which Australia as a nation is a
"Every time this happens, the Speaker of the House has the power to invoke regulations and expel Members of the
Parliament. Nobody who vilifies the UN Convention, implicitly vilifying those who arrive by boat under the powers of
that Convention, has a place in the Australian Parliament. Mr Jenkins should inform the House that language deliberately
seeking to undermine that Convention is subject to his powers and sanctions."
"There should now be a full inquiry into the circumstances of Mr Al Akabi's death, and all files and communications
relating to his interviews with the immigration department around his refugee status determination should be part of
this inquiry, Mr Smit said.
"We know how stressed the immigration department currently is around the overcrowding of all detention facilities around
the country. Many bureaucrats have recently been seconded from other government departments - from e.g. the Police
Department, the Department of Defence - to assist in refugee claims assessment. If this has led to a deterioration in
standards of assessment it is a direct contributor to the man's death. Consequently, the opening of these files and
communications is essential in determining the circumstances leading to the death of Mr Akabi."