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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 106

Senator Brown asked the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, upon notice, on 30 July 2004:

With reference to the 27 North Koreans who were detained at the Baxter Detention Centre after having been discharged following a committal hearing in March 2004 on the charge of attempting to import heroin into Australia:

(1) Are those persons still held at the Baxter Detention Centre.

(2) How long have they been held or were they held at the centre.

(3) Were they, or have they been, held in detention for longer than the usual time prior to deportation; if so, what was the reason for the extended detention.

(4) Whilst in detention, were or have they been kept in isolation from other detainees.

(5) Whilst in detention, were or have they been allowed visitors.

Senator Vanstone (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) No, the persons are no longer held at the Baxter Immigration Detention Facility (IDF).

(2) They were moved to immigration detention at Baxter IDF on 5 March 2004. Twenty-six of the group were removed from Australia on 24 June 2004. The remaining member of the group has been charged by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and remains in criminal remand custody.

(3) Unlawful non-citizens are removed from Australia as soon as reasonably practicable. In this case, ongoing action by the AFP until June 2004, supported by a Federal Court order, prevented removal of the group.

(4) During their detention, the group was accommodated in a general compound separate from other detainees, at the request of the group.

(5) Yes. During their detention, the group had visits from their consular representative and from representatives of their shipping company in Korea. Telephone calls in and out were not restricted during their stay.