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Monday, 20 October 1997
Page: 7682

(Question No. 803)


Senator Stott Despoja asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, upon notice, on 1 September 1997:

(1) How many unauthorised arrivals are currently detained in Australia.

(2) Can details be provided relating to all detainees held at Port Hedland and elsewhere: (a) age; (b) nationality; (c) duration of detention in each individual case; (d) stage in the refugee status determination process for each individual case; (e) cost of detention per person per day (distinguishing between Port Hedland and other detention centres); and (f) torture/ trauma victims (note that no names are required as it is reasonable that these are not disclosed for confidentiality reasons).

(3) Under what provisions of the Migration Act are these people detained.

(4) How many unauthorised arrivals have been released on Bridging Visas since the system was introduced on 1 September 1994.

(5) On what basis was each of those people granted a Bridging Visa: please specify whether: (a) exceeding 273 day limit for detention; (b) no primary decision within first 6 months of arrival; (c) torture/trauma; (d) spouse of Australian resident or citizen; (e) minor; (f) other medical reasons.

(6) For how long were those released on Bridging Visas in (5) detained prior to being released.

(7) How many unauthorised arrivals released on Bridging Visas have subsequently absconded.

(8) Please give details for the above as at 30 April 1997, as well as at the date of this question.


Senator Vanstone —The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Unlawful non-citizens are detained in one of four immigration detention facilities maintained by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs:

-   Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney

-   Maribyrnong Detention Centre in Melbourne

-   Perth Detention Centre; and

-   the Immigration Processing and Reception Centre in Port Hedland.

As at 2 September 1997 there are 382 unauthorised arrivals detained in Immigration Detention. As at 30 April 1997 there were 506 unauthorised arrivals in detention.

(2) (a)

Age GroupNumber
0-10 years14
11-2014
21-30189
31-40125
41-5031
51-608
61-701
Total382

(b)

NationalityNumber
Afghan1
Albanian6
Algerian48
Angolan3
Bahrain1
Bangladesh2
British2
Bulgarian3
Chinese51
Ethiopian4
Ghanaian4
Greek1
Hong Kong1
Indian2
Indonesian11
Iranian13
Iraqi56
Israeli1
Japanese1
Jordanian1
Kenyan2
Korean4
Kuwaiti5
Lebanese1
Liberian2
New Zealand1
Nigerian6
Pakistani2
Palestinian1
Filipino2
Russian2
Rwandan1
Saudi Arabia1
Sierra Leone1
Singapore1
Slovenian1
Somalian37
Sri Lankan62
Sudanese3
Syrian2
Thai2
Tongan8
Turkish3
Unknown2
Vietnamese15
Zarian3
Total382

Please note that corresponding figures as at 30 April 1997 are not available.

(c)

Length of DetentionAs at 02/09/97As at 30/04/97
Less than 1 month6192
1-3 months120162
3-6 months10457
6-9 months3345
9-12 months1634
12-24 months2116
24-36 months1480
36 > months1320
Total382506

(d)

Current StatusAs at 02/09/97As at 30/04/97
1. Awaiting primary decision67153
2. Awaiting RRT decision14744
3. Post Refugee Review Tribunal action/within appeal period104
4. Remitted by RRT9-
5. Litigation (court) action1428
6. Request for Ministerial intervention (s.417)3611
7. Awaiting travel Documents and removal99266
Total382506

(e)

IDC30/04/9702/09/97
Port Hedland$169.85$161.77
Other Detention Centres$115.41$111.11

(f) The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) does not store aggregate data of the type sought. This type of detailed information is recorded on individual case files pertaining to the person in question. These files are located in the State office and IDC's applicable to that person's place of detention. To retrieve the requested data would be a resource intensive exercise which is unable to be completed in the time available.

(3) Persons are detained pursuant to section 189 of the Migration Act.

(4) Detainees may qualify for a bridging visa (Bridging Visa E category 051) to allow them to be temporarily released from detention in special or extenuating circumstances only. The criteria includes where the person is: either under 18 or over 75 years of age; a spouse of an Australian citizen; a victim of torture or trauma or has a medical condition which requires professional attention unavailable at a Detention Centre. From 1 September 1994 to 30 April 1997, there were 36 Bridging Visas issued, whilst from 1 May 1997 to 2 September 1997, a further 2 visas were issued.

(5) DIMA does not store aggregate data of the type being sought. This type of detailed information is recorded on individual case files relating to the person in question which are located in the State office applicable to that person's place of detention and/or residence. To retrieve the requested data would be a resource intensive exercise which is unable to be completed in the time available.

(6) For how long were those released on Bridging Visas in (5) detained prior to being released:

Less than 1 week1
1 to 2 weeks3
2 to 4 weeks3
1 to 3 months24
3 to 6 months2
6 to 9 months5
Total38

(7) In the 1996-97 and 1997-98 (year to date) financial years there have been no unauthorised arrivals released on Bridging Visas that have failed to meet their reporting obligations to DIMA. Recipients of Bridging Visas E (category 051), are persons who fall in the"low risk" category.

(8) The details for the dates requested are reflected where possible in the answers given above.