Aug 1, 2008

Labor Changes Immigration Detention Policy

Labor Changes Immigration Detention Policy

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

August 1 2008

The Rudd Labor Government has honoured election commitments to change Australia’s immigration detention policy.

Under Labor’s reforms, detention in an Immigration Detention Centre will only be used as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time.

The Rudd Labor Government’s new policy will see the Department of Immigration take a risk-based approach to detention.

A person who poses no danger to the community will be able to remain in the community while their visa status is resolved.

The department will have to justify why a person should be detained. Once in detention a detainee’s case will be reviewed every three months to ensure that the further detention of the individual is justified.

“Children will not be detained in an immigration detention centre,” said Anthony Albanese.

This will prevent the kinds shameful mistakes that characterised the previous Government.

The case of Ian and Janie Whang from Stanmore is one of many instances that show how terrible the policy of detaining children was.

The brother and sister were removed from their classrooms in Stanmore public school in 2005 and taken to Villawood detention centre. They were wrongfully held in detention for over four months. During that time Ian witnessed three separate incidents of detainees trying to end their lives.

“These changes reverse a shameful chapter in our history and I am glad they have been made,” said Anthony Albanese.