Illusive Mind

The Unquestionable should be questioned

Monday, June 13, 2005

Behind the Razor Wire


This is a press release written by Julia Gillard of the Australian Labor Party whilst she was Shadow Minister for Population & Immigration in 2002. It was sent to me by my local Federal representative upon my questioning Labor's resolve to end the Australian Government's despicable Mandatory Detention policy in order to show "Labor’s long term commitment to this issue."


Support for Labor’s amendment to get children out from behind the razor wire of immigration detention by Australians for Just Refugee Programs is welcome. I specifically welcome the endorsement of Labor’s stance by one of the group’s patrons, Dr John Yu, former Australian of the Year.

The amendment I have moved to the Migration Legislation Amendment (No. 1) Bill seeks to modify the legal power to detain asylum seekers so that children cannot be held in high security detention for long periods of time. This amendment will compel the Government to:

Put unaccompanied children into foster or community care arrangements; and
Allow families with children to live in accommodation like the Woomera alternate detention trial.

Dr Yu also called for a conscience vote on Labor’s amendment when it is debated in the Parliament next month. In relation to a conscience vote, it is worth highlighting (again) that on 26 August this year I asked the Minister, given he was free to cross the floor in 1988 to vote with the then Labor Government to endorse a non-discriminatory immigration policy for Australia, to assure Coalition MPs that they will be similarly free to cross the floor this time and support Labor’s amendment.

The Minister failed to answer the question. However, I am calling on Government members to be guided not by the Minister’s words, but by his actions in 1988, and by their consciences.

It’s time to get children out from behind the razor wire.

Shadow Minister for Population & Immigration



Post a Comment

<< Home