Asylum seeker protest shuts down parliament question time

Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer
AAP
Picture: Phoebe Wearne/Twitter

Parliament's question time has been suspended due to protesters angry over offshore detention of asylum seekers.

Speaker Tony Smith suspended the session on Wednesday after one question when about 25 protesters started yelling from the public gallery.

The protesters said detention on Nauru and Manus Island represented a "state of emergency", as asylum seekers continued to be abused.

Security officers struggled to contain or remove them, with the protesters claiming they had superglued their hands to the rails.

"We are here today because your policies are breaking our hearts because every day on Manus and Christmas Island is another day in hell," one of them said.

The 30 or so protesters linked arms, yelling chants, including 'close the camps now' and 'this is a state of emergency'.

Most government MPs, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, left the chamber during the protest.

A group called Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance has claimed credit on Twitter for the protest.

"We've shut down parliament #closethecamps #bringthemhere," the group tweeted.

Greens MP Adam Bandt praised the actions of the protesters.

"Question Time brought to a halt as peaceful protesters hold MPs to account demanding gov #CloseTheCamps. Brave. Powerful. Proud," he wrote on Twitter.

Labor MP Tim Watts said it was "poor form".

"Preventing elected Members of Parliament from meeting is a poor form of democratic protest," he tweeted.

Federal police officers have arrived to deal with the situation.

Labor MPs including leader Bill Shorten remained in the chamber.

Federal police later arrived to help parliamentary security officers remove the protesters, some of whom were dragged up the stairs.

Other onlookers in the public gallery were asked to leave.

Nationals MP George Christensen praised the work of security officers.

"Well done to security for dealing so professionally and calmly with these pro-illegal immigrant protesters who have shut down parliament," he tweeted.

Some of the protesters continued chanting outside the chamber, demanding the offshore detention "death camp" centres close.

"This is a humanitarian crisis," they said.

"We are here today to tell every single one of you you are all complicit.

"You have become world leaders in cruelty."