Monday July 5 2004 15:30pm WST
For Immediate Release
The recent releases of families from immigration detention facilities are all about publicity prior to the upcoming election, and have no relation whatsoever to ending the intensely cruel government policies, Project SafeCom's Jack Smit argues today.
"Today's statement by the Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone that there are is now just one child [edited 16:30pm from "no children"] in Australian detention centres should be seen for what it really is. Vanstone's statement conveniently excludes mentioning the number of children in detention on Nauru (at least 19 children, possibly more) and Christmas Island (11 children), 30 children detained in the Villawood detention centre, TWO BABIES as well as an unaccompanied Chinese child at the Baxter IDF, three children at the Maribyrnong detention centre in Melbourne, as well as 16 children in Foster care in Adelaide (remember, with 24-hour guards!) as well as 12 children in the Port Augusta Housing project.
"This government has no intention in setting children free from the various crafted forms of immigration detention, and it keeps happily breaching Australia's obligations to the Convention for the Rights of the Child.
"In addition, the fact that several families have now been released from immigration detention is touted by Vanstone as a part of the Howard government's decency, but in fact this government continues its cruelty by granting the NON VISA VISA, or the Bridging Visa E (BVE), (Project SafeCom calls it the Living-Under-The-Bridges-Visa) which stipulates exclusion from Medicare, work rights, education rights, or concession arrangements in place for low-income earners.
"The government has created its most cruel form of "freedom from detention" in its BVE for those granted such a visa. The recipients of the BVE are people, locked into a complete, 100% dependency of churches, welfare agencies, and the tens of thousands of decent Australians who bandied together in the refugee movement since the Tampa scandal.
"This government is a scandalous mob of human rights criminals with its unbelievable cruelty to asylum seekers, and it has a budget-free run of criminal userism, sucking out the precious financial resources of decent Australians who do not allow released asylum seekers to become vagrants.
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]