This morning, while a group of backbenchers met to discuss the current policy impasse on asylum seekers, another boat capsized off the coast of Christmas Island;
Nothing symbolises the impotence of this place more than the juxtaposition of these two events;
Nothing could symbolise our authority more than if we act to put the common good first.
We already know of 90 deaths this week alone, and potentially more tragic news to come later today;
What we have at the moment has been described as a stalemate;
It is more than that.
It is the realisation of the policy of one political party – the Australian Greens – and the strategic political opportunism of another – the Liberal and National Coalition Parties;
Yes – there are people of goodwill in all political parties who are saying: enough is enough;
But – we also have some here who have shown a callous capacity to continue to seek political advantage out of this situation;
We should bring this matter back before the Parliament today – as a matter of the highest priority for this place;
We should do what decency demands;
We should swiftly move to enact the laws which will give effect to sound policy;
Laws that are based on expert advice;
Laws that have the potential to curb the traffic in human misery;
Laws that could bring an end to the terror of so many deaths at sea.