Since November 2019, refugees have been detained cruelly and indefinitely in Melbourne, first at the Mantra hotel in Preston and now at the Park Hotel in Carlton, right in the heart of my electorate. While some have been released, dozens remain, with no certainty about their future.
They have never given up in their fight for justice, backed up by community members who turn out week after week in solidarity. I want to pay tribute today to the hundreds of community activists who've turned out day after day, week after week, to demand the release of these men and an end to indefinite detention, both in Australia and in the cruel offshore prisons of Manus and Nauru.
I want to thank the 536 academics and researchers who have signed an open letter, not only demanding the release of the remaining men but demanding that our government fulfil its obligations under international law and abolish cruel temporary protection visas.
Until both Liberal and Labor abandon the cruel, punitive policy of offshore detention and accept refugees, as is our international obligation, Australia can never claim to be a compassionate country on the world stage.
Solidarity today and every day to the men, women and children held in cruel indefinite detention. We'll never stop fighting until this cruel policy ends and refugees are released.