Oct 12, 2015

Introduction of Private Members Bill on mandatory reporting of child abuse in detention facilities


Today in the Parliament I seconded a Bill which, if passed, will make reporting on child abuse in detention facilities mandatory.

This Bill will require persons working in Australian funded facilities to report any form of child abuse to the Australian Border Force Commissioner.

In turn the Australian Border Force Commissioner must report this information to the relevant police authority and child protection agency.

The Bill also ensures there is absolutely no doubt that staff in these facilities have not only the freedom to report abuse, but also a legal obligation to do so.

The Australian community rightly expects the Turnbull Government to make sure people seeking protection are treated appropriately.

Children currently in detention, however, need action to be taken right now, which is why I have seconded this Bill.

Immigration detention is absolutely no place for children and I support every effort to move children and their families out of detention and into the community as soon as possible.

I also want to voice my support for the rally held yesterday by health professionals at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, calling for the removal of all children from immigration detention.

These health professionals are dealing with complex cases involving children who have gone through exceptionally difficult experiences fleeing persecution and war.

These doctors and nurses have raised legitimate concerns and deserve more than a one line response from the Turnbull Government.

The Turnbull Government must speed up processing of refugee claims so that children and their families are not left to languish in detention centres.

Labor has consistently condemned the Turnbull Government for its management of offshore processing.

Last year the Moss Review found allegations of abuse within the detention facility on Nauru were credible, which is why Labor established the Senate inquiry to allow these issues to be appropriately examined.

Labor will continue to hold the Government to account for its role in the management of detention facilities, including its response to the Senate inquiry recommendations.