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Reply from Lisa Singh to MIke's letter - another death on Manus Island

Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2017 11:27 AM
To: 'Mike'
Subject: RE: Another death on Manus Island

Thank you very much for writing to me in support of a fairer and more humane approach to our treatment of asylum seekers.
The support and good wishes I have received since my recent speech in the Senate have been heart-warming. I will always stand firm in my commitment to a compassionate and humane asylum seeker policy, and it gives me great encouragement to know that I have your support. 
Australia’s ongoing poor treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in offshore detention is shameful. I strongly believe that people have the right to seek asylum in this country, and that we as Australians have an obligation to welcome refugees to settle in our proudly multicultural society.
Australia is a nation built on, and enriched by the experience of, migration. I believe we should acknowledge the contribution of migration to the rich and diverse fabric of our society, recognising both the ongoing contributions of Australians who came here as refugees or asylum seekers, and the real potential for those who are seeking asylum here today to contribute in the same manner.
Instead, men, women and children seeking asylum in Australia have been held in indefinite offshore detention for years now by the Abbott-Turnbull Governments. This has cost billions, harmed innocent people who sought our protection, and damaged our international reputation. Peter Dutton and the Turnbull Government have continued to play politics with people’s lives, failing utterly to discharge their responsibility to the vulnerable people who have come here seeking our protection.
Last year I attended the United Nations Refugee Summit at which the New York Declaration, an agreement to better address ongoing patterns of mass migration and displacement, was adopted by the international community. Australia signed on to this Declaration’s aims, which include the provision of better protection for refugees, the expansion of resettlement options, and an end to the practice of detaining children. The Government’s focus now should be the delivery of these aims, including the immediate resettlement of those in offshore detention on Manus and Nauru.
I will continue to advocate for asylum seekers to be treated with dignity and humanity. Together, I believe that we can keep working until those who come to Australia seeking asylum are afforded the dignity and compassion they deserve.
Kind regards,
Lisa Singh
Labor Senator for Tasmania

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