Aug 16, 2012
Urgent questions to our Senators
What assurances do we have that the physical situation on Nauru or Manus Island will be in any way improved from the last time Australia maintained detention facilities in these locations? Have there been improvements to water de-salination on Nauru, is the power source now reliable? Will there be respite from the constant mosquito attacks that people detained there spoke of?
What is meant by ‘appropriate accommodation’? Could the Prime Minister’s suggestion of tents on Manus Island constitute ‘reasonable’? The Christmas Island unrest happened after people were held for lengthy periods in tents.
What of the sovereignty issues encountered under the ‘Pacific Solution’ era in terms of visiting Nauru. Human Rights Commissioner along with our Parliamentarians denied visitation not to mention lawyers, concerned citizens, family, friends and community members who may all have wished to visit people detained in these locations but could not. What visitation and oversight mechanisms will be put in place and will these be safeguarded whilst ever the detention facilities are in operation?
Non-arbitrary detention on Manus and Nauru.
What does this mean in reality? What do the local populations think of it? There are known tensions amongst Manus Island locals about their hosting of the detention population.
It takes 20minutes to drive around the whole island of Nauru, there is not exactly freedom in leaving people to roam the island especially when it is for an indefinite period.
There is very little detail on what will happen to children under the Panel’s recommendations:
Will all children be considered 'vulnerable' and therefore able to come to Australia on the proposed special visas? Will children face indefinite detention on Nauru? What education will be provided for them?
ALP National conference agreed that unaccompanied minors seeking asylum needed an independent guardian – not the Minister for Immigration and not NO guardian whatsoever!
Attachment 10: Legislation changes required: amend Migration Act to say people can be transferred to any location outside Australia. Any location? What restrictions will Parliament put in place to ensure safeguards, what are the minimum standards?
At point 2.17 the Expert Panel report states that we shouldn't restrict ourselves to only dealing with Refugee Convention countries. That we should instead work towards "appropriate safeguards". Who determines these and how do we ensure that if a high benchmark is set it does not slide.
Parliamentary debate presently suggests that parliament itself will act as the oversight and will vote to ensure safeguards. This is very difficult to fathom. The same parliament that voted to send the children away in the first place, the parliament with all manner of political pressures on a number of issues and the same parliament whose make up we cannot be assured of even in the near future.
What assurances do we have that the humanitarian intake will rise to 27,000 in five years?