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Leader's State Conference Speech

Kim Booth

Kim Booth  -  Sunday, 21 September 2014

Tags: Political Leadership, Environment, Human Rights

In a rallying cry to the Party faithful today, the Greens declared they are determined to stand up for the community, the environment and democracy against the excesses of the Hodgman Liberal majority government.

Greens Leader Kim Booth MP also outlined during his Keynote speech delivered at the Party’s State Conference today, key aspects of the Greens’ agenda for the next twelve months, including forming a community working group to pursue establishing Tasmania as an Asylum Seeker Haven.

“The Greens are needed now more than ever to stand up to the Hodgman regime, and we are prepared to meet the challenges ahead,” Mr Booth said.

“However, no matter how tough Tasmanians are doing it, we have a proud tradition of still being able to see beyond ourselves, and offering others doing it harder a helping hand. We recognise that responsibility.”

“People are appalled at the inhumanity of the Abbott government’s off-shore internment camp regime, which is inflicting so much damage on asylum seekers, and Australia’s international reputation.”

 “We believe there is merit in alternative models, such as that proposed by Mr Julian Burnside QC, and we are committed to consulting and developing a formal plan to be put to government to establish Tasmania as a humanitarian on-shore asylum seeker processing centre.”

The Asylum Seeker Haven proposal for investigation includes:

  • Instead of the Federal government pouring between $4 billion and $5 billion of taxpayers’ hard earned money each year into Nauru and Manus Island’s internment camps, $1 billion could instead be provided to Tasmania to house asylum seekers.

  • The Burnside proposed model the Greens will investigate would see asylum seekers be detained initially for a maximum of one month for health and security checks, with courts able to extend individual’s detention should a case for that be successfully prosecuted.

  • After the initial period of detention, it is proposed that asylum seekers are released into the community on an interim visa that details conditions which need to be adhered to until the person’s refugee status is determined.

The benefits of allowing entry into the community would be three-fold:

  1. It would save billions of dollars to the nation;

  2. It would ensure that any government benefits provided will circulate through our regional and local economies, providing a much needed economic boost;

  3. And of course it reduces the enormous mental and physical harm inflicted on our fellow human beings currently being held in off-shore detention.

 “As Mr Burnside states, ‘over the past 15 years approximately 90 per cent of all boat people turned out on assessment, to be refugees entitled to our protection’. Tasmania can do the right thing by our fellow human beings, and in a careful way which also secures economic benefits for our local and regional economies,” Mr Booth said. [1]

“Closer to home people are beginning to see and feel the impact of having two hard right-wing ideological driven Liberal governments in place, both here and in Canberra, and are seeking alternatives to put a break on the blind indifference of majority governments.”

“It is becoming abundantly clear that the biggest threat to the Tasmanian way of life as we know it is the excesses of the Hodgman regime.” 

“Their first acts within six months of taking government have been revengeful and ideologically driven, set on pitting sections of the community against each other instead of representing all Tasmanians which is responsibility of good government.”

“The Greens will continue to stand up for the disadvantaged, and those doing it tough in our community.”

“We will continue to fight for our public sector workers, some of the lowest paid in the nation, to keep their salaries and their jobs.”

“We will defend until our last breath, our majestic native forests and our wild places, such as the Tarkine.  We will put the ‘protected’ back into our parks and reserves.”

“We will continue to stand up to protect our democracy and our democratic institutions.”

“The Greens will table legislation to establish a Tasmanian Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, as recommended by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute.  Tasmanians cannot afford to have their civil liberties shackled.”

Mr Booth also paid tribute to the party membership and his Parliamentary colleagues.

“There is an energy, a buzz and determination amongst the Greens which is fantastic to see.”

“We have a strong team of 20 candidates contesting the upcoming Local council elections statewide, and there is an air of excitement swirling around that campaign.”

“We have a strong and dedicated team flying the flag at the federal level with Senators Christine Milne and Peter Whish-Wilson.  At the state level our small but effective team consisting of my colleagues Cassy O’Connor MP, Nick McKim MP and myself will continue to stand up for reason and compassion, as we seek to protect all that makes Tasmania such a special place to live,” Mr Booth said.