Mike Rann should take action to stop child abuse in Baxter

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 0417 090 130
Web: http://www.safecom.org.au/

Mike Rann should take action to stop child abuse in Baxter

Media Release
Thursday 10 April 2003 10:00 WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

"South Australia's Premier Mike Rann should stop wasting his energy pandering to voters using a cheap-skate law-and-order approach, and instead carry out his true duty to the nation", refugee advocates around Australia said today.

Jack Smit, spokesman for WA based Project SafeCom Inc., said: "Just fresh off the press, Robyn Layton QC's report on SA State's Child protection failures, "Best Investment, a state plan to protect and advance the interests of children" and the damning state of affairs in South Australia it reveals, should have made the SA Premier understand that he has no authoritative voice about the situation where his State holds more than fifty children in a Federal government sponsored and institutionalised child abuse environment, incarcerated in the Baxter detention facility near Port Augusta."

"Mike Rann should talk instead about how South Australia should immediately bring a halt to the situation of the children who are dumped in South Australia's Baxter detention centre', and take the Federal Minister for Immigration Philip Ruddock - who is the Guardian of these imprisoned children - to his South Australian State Courts for extreme and ongoing taxpayer-sponsored child abuse."

Peter Wilkie of the Perth Refugee Rights Action network commented: "If any other guardian of a child in this country kept a child confined behind a fence for years in the conditions that these children are kept, without proper education, they'd be hauled before the courts and convicted of child abuse. Why is Philip Ruddock exempt from this Justice?"

The refugee advocates further said: "More than fifty children are held in indefinite detention in Baxter. Mike Rann knows that, but his grandstanding about "meeting force with force" and sending hundreds of State police to the Baxter Convergence only adds to his complicity with the shameful treatment of children in detention."

"He has the power to stop the torture in Baxter, but like all State premiers around Australia, he sits on his hands while what amounts to grave human rights abuses and child torture goes on in detention centres around Australia."

"Mike Rann is not the only State Labor leader who panders about law and order while offering a deafening silence on the human rights abuses in their backyard. WA's Geoff Gallop used the detention centre fires shortly after Christmas for his own political advantage by making a press appearance - an issue which was at the time not even relevant to him in Western Australia."

RRAN's Peter Wilkie said: "Wran and Gallop are too chicken to make a stand against the racism and xenophobia that these policies and institutions represent. Indeed they both seek to get what mileage they can from Australia's detention policies by talking tough on law and order when the inevitable problems of the policy burst onto our TV screens from time to time."

"These Labor State leaders shame the founding fathers of the Labor Party by conveniently forgetting that Labor owes its birth rights to mass demonstrations, pickets and civil protests at the time the Labor movement gained national importance. By their attitude to refugee protests they are a disgrace to Labor as it was when it was founded."

Ian Rintoul of the Sydney Refugee Action Collective: "State conferences of Labor Party members have called for an end to mandatory detention, but the State Labor leaders' actions are making them shamefully complicit in the mistreatment of refugees - with the institutionalised child abuse in the detention centres and by trying to make mileage out of the planned demonstrations at Easter by decent Australians."

See also The Advertiser:

Justice system 'failing abused children'


web address:


For more information call:

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[Phone number posted]

Pamela Curr
Immigration Spokesperson
The Greens Victoria
[phone number posted]

Ian Rintoul
Refugee Action Collective Sydney
[phone number posted]

Peter Wilkie
Refugee Rights Action Network Perth
[phone number posted]

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