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Monday, 23 November 2009
Page: 12383

Mr TURNBULL (Leader of the Opposition) (2:01 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister inform the House as to the nature and status of the injuries sustained by both Australian personnel and asylum seekers in the recent riot at the Christmas Island detention centre?

Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. I am advised that at approximately 6.30 pm on Saturday, Christmas Island time, a disturbance took place among a group of detainees at the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre. The disturbance was brought under control within about 30 minutes, with the assistance of the Australian Federal Police. I am further advised that, following containment of the incident, the centre is calm and all the detainees have been briefed by departmental officers. Departmental officials are currently investigating the circumstances of the disturbance. The Australian Federal Police is also conducting an investigation. If a detainee on Christmas Island has committed a serious offence, this will be taken into consideration as part of the assessment as to whether or not they are granted a visa. There were a number of injuries sustained, with 43 individuals receiving medical treatment. I am advised that five of the detention provider staff sustained minor injuries.

On the matter of mandatory detention on Christmas Island, the opposition and the House will be aware that the government’s policy on mandatory detention and offshore processing has been constant since the government was elected to office. That will continue to be our policy into the future.