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More scrutiny required of immigration network in light of excessive force

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Friday, 25 January 2013

More scrutiny required of immigration network in light of excessive force

The sacking of a Serco guard for the use of excessive force against a mentally ill refugee last year is a sign of the abysmal situation in the government’s onshore and offshore detention centres, the Australian Greens said today.

“If this sort of abuse is going on in our onshore detention network, how can we trust the government to oversee detention centres on remote Pacific islands?” the Greens immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“I will be travelling to Manus Island next week and plan to inspect the detention facility there so that the Australian taxpayers, whose billions of dollars have been spent on these offshore prisons, can understand the conditions there.

“Potential abuses of a seriously mentally ill refugee in Australia must be the wake-up call the Department of Immigration uses to address serious concerns about the training of staff, but I fear that won’t be the case.

“The government has been advised for two years that its practice of training staff in a similar way to prison guards is unacceptable and a complete overhaul is required, but they have failed to act.

“With incidents like these happening in Australian detention centres, it raises serious concerns about the conditions in offshore centres, out of sight and out of mind.

Media Contact: Noah Schultz-Byard 0427 604 760