SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2020
SUBJECTS: God’s promise to the world; Scott Morrison’s broken promise to stranded Australians; International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
KRISTINA KENEALLY, DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS: Let's talk about promises this morning.
Christmas is coming, and Christmas is a promise. It's when God kept his promise to the world to send his only begotten son - that's whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas.
There's another Christmas promise, let's talk about. It's Scott Morrison's promise made on the 18th of September, to get all 28,000 (sic 26,000) stranded Australians home by Christmas. These are people who were registered with DFAT on the 18th of September, and Scott Morrison promised to get them all home by Christmas. There were 26,000 Australian stranded on that day.
Well, we now know that only 14,000, of those 26,000 have come home.
We are here on the second of December, and there are 12,000 stranded Australians who have not yet made it back to Australia, even though Scott Morrison promised on the 18th of September, he'd have them all home by Christmas.
These are stranded Australians like Anthony Mestres, his wife Kim and their eight-month-old baby who are stranded in France. These are people like David and Kate Jeffries and their young son who are stranded in Canada. These are people like Elyssa and Matthew Jackson and their two children were aged four and one stranded in the United Arab Emirates.
These parents and their children were all stranded on the 18th of September, registered with DFAT when Scott Morrison promised that they would be home by Christmas.
But there are only eight days left for Scott Morrison to keep the promise to get all of these stranded Australians home by Christmas, and I'm just talking about the ones that were registered with DFAT on the 18th of September, because we now know that there are some 37,000 stranded Australians registered with DFAT.
We now know that the number of vulnerable Australians has doubled from 4000 to 8000, since the time the Prime Minister made that promise.
So, we also know Scott Morrison told us that he still believes in miracles. Well, it is going to take a miracle to get all of the stranded Australians Scott Morrison promised would be home by Christmas - for the birth of Jesus to celebrate however they want to celebrate with their families - Scott Morrison promised they'd be here. At this rate, it's going to take a miracle for him to keep his promise.
Happy to take any questions. Can I say one more thing then.
Today is the International Day of Modern Slavery. What we do know here in Australia is that modern slavery is a problem. It is a problem here, it is a problem in our region - a significant problem in the Asia Pacific region.
Well, while we have had some slow progress here in Australia. What we have is a government that hasn't put in place the proper penalties and the proper laws to ensure that we stamp out modern slavery out of our supply chains.
I think many Australian families would be shocked to know that the fruit they put in their children's lunchbox is often picked by someone who's working in slavery like conditions, sometimes paid as little as a couple of dollars an hour, subject to physical and sexual abuse, loss of liberty depth deprivation of their passports and their documents.
This is a problem that Australia confronts, it's a problem the world confronts. It's why Labor set up - one of the reasons Labor set up a inquiry into temporary migration - so that we can look at the exploitation of temporary migrant holders in Australia, particularly where they are working in conditions, akin to modern slavery.
So today on this day we acknowledge the problem, we confront it, and as Labor has done continually push for stronger laws and more enforcement.