POLITICS

Big Refugee Protest Shuts Down Question Time In Parliament House

'You are all complicit in the murder, rape, torture and child abuse of refugees'.

30/11/2016 2:18 PM AEDT | Updated 30/11/2016 3:15 PM AEDT
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A large group of protesters shut down Question Time in federal parliament on Wednesday, shouting pro-refugee slogans and criticising the government's detention policies as they reportedly superglued their hands to the seats.

The daily Question Time began at 2pm. After an opening question from Labor to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Liberal MP Melissa Price took the floor to begin a question to the PM about "the government's achievements" in economic reform. We're not sure what the rest of the question was, because at that point, shouts erupted from the public gallery overlooking the floor of the House of Representatives.

"You are all complicit in the murder, rape, torture and child abuse of refugees," the chants began, mentioning Manus Island, Nauru and Christmas Island.

"You shame us on the international stage. You have failed every single person seeking asylum. Your policies are killing innocent people. Your policies are separating families. You use our money to abuse refugees."

"The madness needs to stop."

The group was estimated at around 30 people, by those in the chamber. Parliament House security arrived to deal with the protest, but unable to shift the large group, the Australian Federal Police soon turned up. Nationals MP George Christensen snapped a picture of the protest inside the House of Reps.

Speaker of the House, Tony Smith, waited around three minutes as the chants continued unabated. Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten waited, unamused, as the protest continued. Eventually, Smith called for Question Time to be halted until the group could be removed.

HuffPost Australia political editor Karen Barlow was on the scene to capture video as the protest spilled from the House of Representatives into the rest of Parliament House.

Reports from the scene claimed some of the group has glued their hands to the seats in the public gallery.

While others claimed some 'unconventional' law enforcement strategies...

A group called Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance claimed they were behind the protest, in a Facebook video:

Once the protest was quelled, Question Time resumed around 2.40pm -- after a delay of around 35 minutes. Speaker Smith said "every aspect of today's occurrence" would be investigated. It also looked like the protesters were let go, emerging in the Parliament House underground carpark underneath the building.

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