Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Children in Baxter Detention Centre: Tell me a fable...

Tell me your fable...A fable...

Opponents vow to fight yesterday's Family Court ruling against the release of five children from South Australia's Baxter detention centre has strengthened the resolve of groups fighting the Federal Government's policy of detaining child asylum seekers.

Talk to me, tenderly, show reality, fantasy. We'll bound together all win in one feat.

Justice Steven Strickland yesterday ruled against releasing the five siblings from detention because he was not satisfied they would be better off in the wider community. [?]

But that is a statement that detention is better than community, how can that be?

Tell me your fable...A fable...

The decision has angered Catholic welfare agency Centacare, which had applied to take care of the children until their eventual deportation.

Centacare director Dale West says Justice Strickland wrongly stated the agency was not well enough prepared to care for the children.

"I believe that Centacare does have the skills, the expertise the preparation has been made," Mr West said.

"We do have staff that would be able to well meet the needs of these children."

The family's lawyer Paul Boylen says he is not dwelling on the ruling, but is looking toward the final hearing in just over a month.

"The matter will go to trial commencing on 15 September, a further six weeks or so away," Mr Boylen said.

"We'll look at the possibility of appealing the interim order dismissing the interim application."

He admits yesterday's ruling was upsetting.

"Detention is still unlawful, that finding of the judge hasn't changed.

"We're of the view that the children are not being properly looked after, their psychological welfare is very bad indeed."

The fable...The fable...Ahh...

While Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock welcomed the ruling as sensible, the Opposition and Democrats have vowed to continue fighting the detention policy.

Federal Opposition Immigration spokeswoman Nicola Roxon says the Government needs to re-examine its policy stance.

"I think that really we shouldn't be chasing every legal technicality," Ms Roxon said.

"We should have the Government saying enough is enough, children shouldn't be behind razor wire and it's about time they made that policy decision themselves."

The Democrats describe the ruling as a temporary setback.

Party leader Senator Andrew Bartlett says the family's plight is just one example of the suffering experienced by hundreds of detained asylum seekers.

"Of course they're in the situation because of the policy of the Federal Government and that's why the Democrats will continue to push to have the policy changed," Senator Bartlett said.

"If not, in the meantime we'll have to try and fight tooth and nail for every single child that is in detention to try and get them out of that harmful environment."

Tell me your fable...
A fable...
A fable that will never end...
And now, I dream!

By Gregory Kable & Robert Miles 6 August 03


Where did you say you reside Mr Carr?
New South Wales Premier Bob Carr says a protest outside Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock's Sydney home should have been called off for moral reasons. Mr Carr says people who want to protest against the Federal Government's immigration policies should do it in Sydney's CBD, not outside Mr Ruddock's home.

Three protesters tricked outside Ruddock's house
Protest organisers have been critical of police actions at a pro-refugee rally near Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock's Sydney home.

Australia: Child detention, tell me a fable...
Democrat's leader Andrew Bartlett wants all children in immigration detention centres released, in the wake of the Family Court refusal to put a stay on one of its landmark rulings.

Amnesty calls for release of children from detention centres
Human rights group Amnesty International is pressuring the Federal Government to immediately release children from detention centres in the wake of the latest report on detainee children.

Child detainees 'living in a nightmare', report finds
A report being released today documents disturbing evidence about mental health for children in detention centres. The report is a joint work by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, NSW University and NSW psychiatrists.

Demonstrators prepared for Baxter protest
Thousands of demonstrators will converged at Port Augusta in preparation for this weekend's expected protest at the Baxter detention centre.