To understand the absolute isolation of people in detention centres around Australia- a quick look at the following.
19 detention centres under various names IDC; IRH; Apod, ITA. Plus another 2 not yet operational.
All with different rules and access.
Distance takes care of some access- who has ever been or going to Weipa/Derby? Darwin not so distant but no locals are allowed to visit YET.
A scheme was being implemented in September when I was there but TEN WEEKS later no one has yet passed the required police clearances to
enter. St. Vincent De Paul is overseeing a community Visitor scheme but as yet no one allowed in.
Phones- a joke. One incoming phone per compound at Northern Immigration Detention Centre. You can ring for weeks before you get through. Staff
will tell you that people have access to cards and can ring out. What they dont tell you is that the reception on these phones is so bad that
no one can understand or hear the call.
Asti and Darwin Airpport Lodge – marginally better for phones, no visitors, but you need to ring and then ring back in half an hour when you have got through.
Brisbane – no visitors.
Where visits are established in the older centres, they continue but in the new centres they are closed black holes.
A few church folk here and there get in but the Australian community is locked out.
CURTIN- I have been trying for 10 weeks and have not yet been able to speak to the person I am ringing. They don’t even pretend. The Com Tower
is shared with Derby so the detention centre is uncontactable. Why can’t people have mobile phones- becasue ASIO say so!!
There is a crisis in the detention centres. Everyone knows it. We have had three deaths since Labor took over. Over 400 children and teenagers-
unaccompanied and another 450 with parents are suffering. The teenagers are hurting themselves- slashing and cutting, some are suicidal. The
procedure is to WATCH them- not treat them- not release them but to WATCH them.
When Christmas comes, staff are diminished, visa processing stops, kids dont go to school and people lose hope.
We have seen it before – will this government stand by and do nothing while people suffer? will they? the solution is political- pure and simple. There is no legal impediment to releasing people -just poisonous toxic politics.
Louise Newman is speaking at the ASRC AGM on Tuesday 23rd November at 6pm. 12 batman st Melbourne. Seebelow