Statement and petition on Rohingya people

23 October 2017

DR CHALMERS (Rankin) (13:49): A few weeks ago, a group of esteemed and highly-qualified community members sat around the meeting table in my electorate office in Logan City, and in the member for Moreton's office in Sunnybank. They were doctors, professors and professionals—experts in their fields. Brought together by Dr Mohammed Islam, they share a common message of concern over the plight of the Rohingya people in Myanmar and in Bangladesh. They brought with them a petition signed by 2,000 residents from the member for Moreton's community, my community and the surrounding areas. In their words, and in the words of the United Nations and Human Rights Watch, they consider what is occurring there to be an atrocity beyond comprehension.

We in Labor have expressed our deep concerns through the shadow foreign affairs minister, Senator Wong. What is happening there is horrific and inexcusable. The member for Moreton and I took this petition to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and received a briefing on the government's response to this humanitarian crisis in the region. I thank the foreign affairs minister and her office for facilitating that meeting urgently and for the opportunity to discuss humanitarian assistance, fact-finding missions, the continuation of the arms embargo and other relevant issues like international cooperation and resettlement. Labor wants to see the government continue to take these meaningful steps. I thank the member for Moreton. I thank Senator Wong. I thank the leaders in our communities, who raised these issues with us and who do so much every day not only to support their loved ones but to bring peace and compassion into our part of the world. I table the petition.