Aug 18, 2005

Ian and Janey ‘not wrongfully detained’ says Immigration Minister



18 August 2005

Federal Member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese has called comments by Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone yesterday a “slap in the face” to Ian and Janey Han Hwang and all those who had been kept in detention when they were lawfully in Australia.

Senator Vanstone stated in Senate Question Time yesterday:

“’Later found lawful’ does not mean ‘wrongfully detained’… When someone is detained, in order for it to be a lawful detention, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion at the time that the person is an unlawful non-citizen.”

Mr Albanese said he was appalled at Senator Vanstone’s attempts to distort public perception of her department’s bungles.

“Senator Vanstone wants to redefine ‘wrongfully detained’. She wants us to believe that it’s alright to keep people in detention who shouldn’t be there,” he said.

“Ian and Janey Han Hwang were kept in detention for four months when they should not have been there at all. They were wrongfully detained. All those who have been held in detention when they were lawfully in Australia have been wrongfully detained, no matter how the Minister wants to try to deny it.”

“Her comments are just another attempt to cover up the mess her department is in.”

Mr Albanese said the Minister had also deliberately dodged another question asking about an inquiry into Ian and Janey’s case.

“When asked if Ian and Janey were among the 201 cases referred to the Palmer Inquiry and Ombudsman Inquiry, the Minister simply did not answer,” said Mr Albanese.

“Ian and Janey deserve a full and proper examination of the circumstances which led to their detention, not a continual denial of responsibility by the incompetent department that detained them,” said Mr Albanese.

“The Minister is making it increasingly clear that her priority is not improving the mismanagement and mishandling in her department, but rather trying to cover it up. Amanda Vanstone should resign," he said.