Ryan MP, immediately ending the indefinite detention of refugees

Monique Ryan MP

Monique Ryan MP 
(Kooyong) House of Representatives Matter of Public Importance "Immigration Detention Speech 

I'd like to acknowledge not only the very thoughtful contributions of the government members here today, which I think have been really helpful but also members of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre who've joined us to listen to us talking about this really important issue.

Firstly, may I note, as the member for Wentworth did, that in early 2019, this parliament achieved something remarkable and historic. Representatives from across the political spectrum voted together, with some of them courageously crossing the floor, to pass Dr Kerryn Phelps's medevac bill to create a pathway for critically sick people held in offshore detention to be evacuated to Australia for urgent medical treatment. A majority of members of this House agreed then that giving medical care to people in Australia's care should not be subjected to political interference and that the provision of that treatment should be determined by doctors. I am a doctor, and I believe the experts who have provided evidence to this parliament on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers when they say that no one is well after 10 years in offshore detention. The previous coalition government repealed the medevac law as soon as it could. I speak on behalf of the electorate of Kooyong today in support of immediately ending the indefinite detention of refugees. This parliament has an opportunity to end the suffering of the hundreds of people still stranded on Nauru and in Papua New Guinea once and for all.

A recent study into psychological distress in Australian onshore and offshore immigration detention centres found that detaining a person onshore for more than three months resulted in great psychological stress. Those detained offshore showed even greater psychological distress on all time frames. The MSF report Indefinite despair in 2018 showed that, out of 208 refugees and asylum seekers assessed, 62 per cent had moderate or severe depression, 25 per cent had anxiety disorders, 18 per cent had post-traumatic stress disorder and another 22 per cent had depression, complex trauma or trauma withdrawal syndrome.

In the last decade, 46 people have died in Australian detention centres. Assessments of the causes of these tragic deaths cite lack of access to medical care, including mental health care, as a core contributing factor, as well as deplorable living and hygiene conditions and psychological and physical abuse. Twelve people have died while detained in Australian offshore detention centres. Many of these people are losing their lives to easily treatable disorders such as sepsis.

Australia's immigration detention regime causes severe and widespread mental and physical health impacts on people seeking refuge or asylum in this country. I appeal to other doctors in this chamber to join Dr Sophie Scamps and me in our calls to bring the people detained offshore here to Australia, to safety. I urge the government and every member of this chamber to end the financial and moral black hole of offshore detention

Content from this website is attributed to the Parliament of Australia website is provided under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia licence.

Monique Marie Ryan is an Australian paediatric neurologist and politician

Comments :