The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) joins with the Refugee Council of Australia, the National Council of Churches in Australia, A Just Australia and others in congratulating Liberal backbencher Petro Georgiou for announcing two private members bills to reform Australia’s system of immigration detention.
Under the Mandatory Detention Bill, asylum seekers would be detained initially for up to 90 days, following which they would be released on bridging visas while their applications are determined. Any further period of detention would be subject to judicial review. Unsuccessful asylum seekers who cannot be sent home would also be released on bridging visas pending their removal (conditional).
The Act of Compassion Bill provides for the independent assessment of children and their families, and others in detention for over a year, providing for their release from detention, unless they pose a danger to the public or are likely to abscond. It also proposes that permanent residency be granted to refugees with temporary protection visas and, in some circumstances, those who cannot be sent home.
Robin Banks, Chief Executive Officer of PIAC, said today:
We applaud Petro Georgiou for his courageous act of compassion in proposing these long overdue changes to the immigration detention system. They go a long way towards addressing the concerns of many in the community, and towards achieving a more humane system for dealing with refugee applicants.
PIAC is, however, concerned at the Prime Minister’s reported hostile response to the initiative by members of his own Government. With the Government taking control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate at the next sitting of Parliament in August, it does not bode well for a thriving democracy that the ruling party does not accommodate a diversity of views, and come to an agreed position through robust debate.
For further comment contact:
Alexis Goodstone, Senior Solicitor, PIAC on (02) 9299 7833
Robin Banks, CEO, PIAC on (02) 9299 7833 or 0423 100 807
MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169