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Tuesday, 7 April 1998
Page: 2720


Mr Martin Ferguson asked the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, upon notice, on 2 March 1998:

(1) How many persons undergoing deportation from Australia were being held in detention centres at 25 December 1997.

(2) What is the average duration of detention in a detention centre before deportation.

(3) What is the longest period a person has been held in a detention centre before deportation.

(4) Which countries have refused to accept deportees from Australia.

(5) How many persons from each country referred to in part (4) are being held in detention centres pending deportation.

(6) What is the average duration in a detention centre of persons from (a) the People's Republic of China (PRC), (b) Sri Lanka, (c) Egypt and (d) other countries who are undergoing deportation.

(7) How many persons from each country referred to in part (6) are being held in detention centres pending deportation.


Mr Ruddock (Immigration and Multicultural Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) At 25 December 1997 there were 9 people detained under section 253 of the Migration Act 1958. Four (4) were detained in Immigration Detention Centres (IDC) and five (5) in state correctional facilities.

(2) In 1997, the average number of days that a person was detained under the section 253 provisions of the Act (in either an IDC or a state correctional facility), prior to deportation was 20 days.

(3) The longest period a person was held in detention in 1997, in either an IDC or a prison, was 238 days. During this period of detention there were 4 days in which the case was not subject to AAT review or an injunction from the Federal Court.

(4) Currently, no country is refusing outright to accept deportees from Australia. Difficulties may arise, however, when the receiving country requires confirmation of continued nationality from the deportee. Depending on a number of variables, including the cooperation of the deportee, this creates delays in executing the deportation order. My Department constantly negotiates with destination countries to ensure that deportations occur as quickly as practicable.

Countries where delays have occurred include India, Vietnam, Cuba, Cambodia, Romania and Iraq.

(5) At 10 March 1998, there were two (2) Vietnamese nationals and one (1) Romanian detained in state correctional facilities and one (1) Vietnamese detained at an IDC.

(6) During 1997, the Department did not detain, for the purposes of deportation, persons from (a) the People's Republic of China (PRC), (b) Sri Lanka or (c) Egypt. During 1997 the average period of detention for nationals who were deported to (d) other countries was 20 days.

(7) The latest available information (as at 10 March 1998) is that there are no deportees from (a) PRC, (b) Sri Lanka, or (c) Egypt currently in detention. There were 11 deportees from other countries in detention.