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Melissa Parke: Speech On Asylum Seekers

The retiring ALP member for Fremantle, has addressed the House of Representatives on the treatment of asylum seekers.

Parke, 49, who has held Fremantle since 2007, spoke in the Grievance Debate in the Federation Chamber.

  • Listen to Parke’s speech (10m)

Speech by Melissa Parke, member for Fremantle, to the House of Representatives.

Parke

Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (17:46): I was preselected to run for Labor in the federal seat of Fremantle while I was still working for the United Nations overseas. One of the main motivations for coming back to Australia to stand for parliament was to help to improve asylum seekers policy that had for so long been misused by the government of Prime Minister John Howard for cynical political purposes.

On my first day back to Australia on 20 June 2007, I gave a speech in the Fremantle Town Hall to mark World Refugee Day. I had worked a lot with refugees during my time with the UN, especially in Kosovo and Gaza. I had seen Kosovars streaming back from neighbouring countries to their burnt-out homes in Kosovo to live in tents in the middle of the harshest winter on record. I worked with Palestinian refugees in the Middle East who had been forced from their homes in 1948 and 1967 and who were living in appallingly dire conditions for decades in the hope that they would one day return to their homes. [Read more…]