Back Row: Roscoe Howell (Slavery Links Australia) , Mr Peter Slipper, Mr Laurie Ferguson, MP, Dr Mark Zirnsak (Director, Justice and International Mission Unit, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia), Joan Kennedy pbvm (ACRATH), Carol Hogan sss (ACRATH), Front Row: Christine Carolan (ACRATH National Projects Coordinator), Senator Ursula Stephens, Denise Mulcahy fcJ (ACRATH)
On 8-9 May 2013 in Melbourne, the Parliamentary Human Rights Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade held a public hearing in Melbourne in connection with the inqury and report on slavery, slavery like conditions and people trafficking. Fifty eight written submissions were received by the joint committee, and ACRATH, along with fifteen others was called to speak at the hearing in Melbourne. An ACRATH delegation was in attendance for the entire hearing.
The Chair of the Inquiry, Laurie Ferguson congratulated ACRATH on its activity, saying that he thought ACRATH was ‘the main group’ that led the committee to holding this inquiry, based on ACRATH’s ‘activities, your appearance before the committee at various stages and your lobbying.’ In thanking ACRATH for being in attendance he said: ‘You said you are a miniscule organisation but you have driven this inquiry. It says something about the receptiveness of parliament that this inquiry came out of your activity.’
Senator Stephens thanked ACRATH for ‘what is a really comprehensive submission and takes us through the breadth of potential government action’ which she thought was ‘very helpful for the committee’.
Peter Slipper congratulated ACRATH ‘on not just the complexity but the comprehensiveness’ of the submission. He said ‘You have brought forward a series of recommendations, some of which I think the committee would be neglecting its duty if it did not take seriously enough into account.’
In her presentation on 8 May 2013, Christine Caroline, ACRATH National Projects coordinator emphasised the following points:
- compensation for those who have been trafficked into Australia
- negotiation for a slavery free supply chain for all goods coming into Australia
- using a protocol of ‘human rights’ to underpin the offering of services to people trafficked into Australia
She recommended that there be a federal scheme of compensation for people who are trafficked, as the present ‘victims of crime assistance’ not only varies from State to State, but it is not compensation for the crime committed.