Saturday July 30 2005 12:30pm WST
For Immediate Release
"The Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone's outrage with the appalling treatment and abuse dealt out to detainees during a transport from Maribyrnong to Baxter last year is great, and so is her demand that the detention operator Global Solutions Limited (GSL) gets fined half a million dollars - but there are a thousand other stories to be told that speak of abuse, plain psychological torture, disdain for asylum applications and thrashing nurses' reports into sexual abuse into a rubbish bin," WA rights lobby and advocacy group Project SafeCom said this morning.
At the time news reports quoted a DIMIA spokesperson as having commented in The Age:
"[the detainees] were transported in an air-conditioned vehicle, with a one-hour stop for a hot meal, access to food and drink and 'there were secured places for toilet stops'",
....representing the most blatant form of lying by public servants. Will this person now be named, sacked and prosecuted?" [see source note below]
"The fact that this story, including the cover-up by the Minister's own department under the reign of Phillip Ruddock, has come out into the open, is great, but we're still waiting for the undoing of the DIMIA and WA Police cover-up of the shocking bashings at the Port Hedland detention centre in December 2003 - also a report by Mr Hamburger - as reported recently in The Bulletin," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"We're also still waiting for the hundreds of other stories of bashings, including sexual abuse, starting with the shocking cover-ups by detention centre operators, and the ignoring of the letters and reports by Phillip Ruddock to be told."
"While the Heads of Schools of Social Work's People's Inquiry has only just started with recent hearings in Port Augusta and Melbourne, there is no doubt that not a thousand mea culpas can make this Minister, her Department, and the former Immigration Minister, and the detention centre operators escape a future Royal Commission into the treatment of refugees, asylum seekers and immigration detainees."
"The number of signatures for the demand for a Royal Commission grows steadily and has not declined since Project SafeCom first started the initiative back in May; this week more than 11,000 signatures have been returned to our office."
"We know we won't see sackings of ministers or public servants under the Howard government, but we can wait until we have an Australian government that positively desires to be accountable, and the Royal Commission will undoubtedly be called then. We can wait for that."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
SOURCE OF NEWS REPORT:
Witnesses say detainees forcibly moved to Baxter
By Andra Jackson, September 21, 2004