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Notice given 5 November 2003

2360  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs—

(1) As at 1 October 2003: (a) how many children and young people aged less than 18 years were being held in each of the mainland and offshore detention centres; (b) how long has each of these children been in detention; and (c) how many of these children, by detention centre, are currently proposed or being considered for moving to alternative places of detention in accordance with Migration Series Instruction No. 371: (i) during November 2003, (ii) during November and December 2003, and (iii) at any other time.

(2) In each case, why are those children currently being held in mainland detention centres not already placed in alternative detention arrangements in accordance with the Migration Series Instruction No. 371.

(3) Does the Minister acknowledge the long-term mental and emotional damage these children are suffering as a result of being held in detention centres.

(4) Given that the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, the Royal Australian College of Physicians, the Committee of Presidents of Combined Medical Colleges, the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Psychological Society all oppose the policy of indefinite mandatory detention, will the Government change its policy; if not, why not.

(5) Does the Government agree with the National Rural Health Alliance argument, as reported in the Alliance’s newsletter of September 2003, that in relation to Australasian Correctional Management, which run immigration detention centres, ‘A culture of profit, lack of transparent accountability, conflict of interest (the source of the distress provides the service that purports to treat it) and resulting compromises of professional ethics, affect all health treatment decisions’; if not, why not.

(6) Does the Government agree that the creation of temporary protection visas appears to compound pre-existing psychological trauma; if not, what evidence does the Government have to demonstrate otherwise.