May 30, 2005

Statement By Members: Immigration Detention Centres: Children

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS –

Immigration Detention Centres: Children

30 May 2005

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (1.55 p.m.)—I wish to draw to the attention of the House the fact that officers of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs removed two children from Stanmore Public School in my electorate on 8 March 2005. This outrageous removal occurred without the presence of a legal guardian or relative of the children and without prior notice to the department of education. This process resulted in emotional trauma to the two children involved, to their friends, their teachers, allied staff and parents of the school. I ask that DIMIA immediately review the current practice of removal of children from school grounds and I intend to table a petition along those lines.

It is unacceptable in 2005 to have DIMIA officers knock on the window of a classroom and drag out two children, one of whom was born in this nation, take them to Villawood and lock them up. It is traumatic for those kids, and it is traumatic for every child in that school. It is typical of a department which is out of control, a department which has lost any sense of compassion and humane treatment and a department which is behaving in an un-Australian way. I ask the minister to stop this activity and to ensure, as my community would expect, that children are treated decently. That is why all kids should be out from behind barbed wire and out of detention.