Nov 10, 2005

It’s Time For a Change of Guard

IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE OF GUARD

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

10 November 2005

Anthony Albanese MP, Federal Member for Grayndler, has called on Minister for Immigration Amanda Vanstone to accept responsibility for the catastrophe that is DIMIA and resign.

Speaking in favour of Labor’s amendment to the Migration and Ombudsman Bill 2005 today, Mr Albanese addressed the need for an immediate end to the culture of assumption and denial perpetuated under the Ruddock/Vanstone Department of Immigration (DIMIA).

Mr Albanese said, “If the minister had any integrity whatsoever, she would look at the [Comrie] report that used terms such as ‘failed’, ‘catastrophic’ and ‘dehumanised’ to describe the department that she ran and she would ring the former minister, Mr Ruddock, and say, ‘Let’s hold a press conference.’”

Mr Albanese said that Ministers Vanstone and Ruddock should tell that press conference: “We accept responsibility. We resign because at the end of the day the culture of hate, fear and dehumanisation … is our responsibility.”

But instead of resigning Minister Vanstone response to the Comrie report was to arrogantly say, “I’m Still Standing”.

Mr Albanese also drew attention to Minister Cobb’s recent response to a question without notice from Tony Burke MP, Shadow Minister for Immigration, regarding the flawed culture of DIMIA.

Mr Cobb said, “This is a department, who since 2001, has done the job the government asked it to do.’

“You bet it has” said Mr Albanese.

Labor’s amendment also calls for an end to outsourcing of detention centre management.

Mr Albanese continued, “Labor says, ‘Terminate these contracts and restore dignity to the lives of detainees.’ In continuing to outsource management to GSL the minister is denying the damage being inflicted on the lives of detainees. These private contracts are a barrier to a more humane treatment of detainees.”