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Facts and Spin on Detention Numbers

Facts are tangled in spin on the numbers of Children in Detention and in detention generally. The reality is that in return for passing draconian refugee laws, the Minister has said that those currently in detention on Christmas Island will be transferred to the mainland. The spin is the numbers. There are currently according to the latest published stats, 108 children and 689 adults in Christmas Island detention camps. http://www.immi.gov.au/About/Documents/detention/immigration-detention-statistics-oct2014.pdf see latest released stats here

Note not 468 children as repeatedly quoted in the media because of incorrect numbers bandied around by politicians and relayed without question. Also note not “1500 people” as also quoted but in truth a total of 797 men,women and children.
You have to go back 9 months to March 2014 in order to find 1538 people including children on Christmas Island.
see http://www.immi.gov.au/managing-australias-borders/detention/_pdf/immigration-detention-statistics-march2014.pdf
There are an unknown number of children in detention centres who have been transferred from Christmas Island and Nauru for health reasons. The Christmas Island children will be released. Those from Nauru will not be released and are excluded from this deal.

In the past few weeks people have been quietly shunted from Christmas Island to Darwin’s Wickham Point camp (WP APOD and IDC) as the Minister was no doubt confident that he could bludgeon his legislation through the Senate. This high security facility with multiple layers of security fences and airlocks and booted up security personnel was originally designated as an Immigration Detention Facility (IDC). When families and pregnant women and babies were moved in, it was re-designated as an Alternative Place of Detention (APOD) without making one single change to the high security architecture or procedures in place.

The 108 Children including 24 UAM’s from Christmas Island are most likely to be shunted into one of Darwins two camps -WP or Blaydin Point. Currently there are around 700 people in Darwin Detention but there is capacity for 4000. Both of these are in the insect biting belt deemed unsuitable for residential use.

What we now need to do is to hold the Government to their promise to get these folk out of detention into the community as soon as possible. We need also to keep a handle on truth which as we can see is an elusive concept in this government.

We need also to remember that there are 3084 men, women and children in on-shore detention and 2151 men women and children on Nauru and Manus
We cannot forget the 25 babies born in Australia who are at risk of being sent to Nauru because their mothers and fathers were sent there from Christmas Island. This lottery process which split families randomly selecting some for Nauru and leaving others on Christmas island has now even more dire ramifications since the government’s equally random and unfair decision to leave the Nauru people to fate while saving a few who by sheer luck escaped the early selection and transfers process. We will be asking for these babies to be included in the promised release of children from detention and not to be singled out for punishment.

Many of the people in on shore camps have been there for years. Some are designated refugees who are security and health cleared who are just sitting there in arbitrary detention because the Minister refuses to exercise his power to sign them out. They could and should have been released by this minister but have been left to fill the camps perhaps as contract quota.

This includes Direct Entry persons (DEP), Air arrivals, Guys charged with minor offences in detention- some with charges dropped as having no merit or evidence by Courts.
This number includes 9 people who were formerly designated by ASIO as “being an adverse Security Risk”. Even though they have been reassessed as no longer presenting a risk and cleared for security, they sit in desperation waiting to be released. The minister is refusing to release them. It is worth remembering that one of deleterious effects of this legislation is to increase the already enormous powers of Immigration Minister.
Detention has become a default position. Anyone who can be detained on the most spurious of reasons is detained and once inside the Detention Web, escape is nigh on impossible even there are not grounds for that detention.
No Court, No Human Rights Organisation, Nobody can assist to remove a person from arbitrary indefinite detention at the Ministers Pleasure until that pleasure is exhausted. These are the unpleasant facts of life in GULAG AUSTRALIA.

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