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Tuesday, 22 May 2001
Page: 26820

Dr Theophanous asked the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, upon notice, on 5 April 2001:

(1) When will he adopt the `Swedish Model' approach to detention of asylum seekers in Australia.

(2) How many asylum seekers will be offered this option.

(3) What will be the process of evaluation of potential recipients of this option.

(4) What conditions will be offered to these recipients.

(5) If not all available places are filled, will he offer the available positions to other asylum seekers.

Mr Ruddock (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) I have studied the concept of the Swedish Model and I do not believe that it applies to our circumstances. I am considering a trial of alternative detention arrangements that may have elements of the Swedish Model; however, I am not considering the Swedish approach to immigration detention in total.

(2) It is planned that up to 25 women and children will participate in the trial.

(3) This issue is among those still being worked out by my Department. However, the proposed trial will only be open to women and children and will be approximately three months in length. Whether it will be a permanent arrangement will be determined by an evaluation of the trial, after that time.

(4) Subject to satisfactory arrangements being agreed with the Woomera community, the participants will be located in community housing within Woomera town but under immigration detention. This is a trial of alternative detention arrangements not a release into the community.

Consultations continue with Woomera residents on this and other issues.

(5) All places in the trial will be filled on a voluntary basis. At this stage it is difficult to predict the response from the detainee population with regard to participation rates.