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Bartlett joins hunger strike over asylum seekers.

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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 04/1150 FRIDAY 17 DECEMBER 2004 SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS SPOKESPERSON ON IMMIGRATION BARTLETT JOINS HUNGER STRIKE OVER ASYLUM SEEKERS The Australian Democrats Immigration spokesperson Senator Andrew Bartlett, will go on a hunger strike tomorrow in support of the asylum seekers in Baxter who are asking the Immigration Minister to reconsider their cases. “Some of these asylum seekers are Christians who would face persecution if they return to Iran. It is extraordinary that the Government still insists they go back or remain locked up forever in detention camps,” Senator Bartlett said. “Those asylum seekers on a hunger strike have been locked up for years and they feel they have no other options left. It is important for them to know that many people in the Australian community support them in their struggle for justice.” “Hunger strikes are a sign of the desperation of the situation while the Government just stonewalls. Over many years the Democrats have tried reasoning with the Government, moving amendments, and appealing to their sense of decency. In the cases of those still in Baxter, nothing seems to have worked.” Senator Bartlett visited hunger strikers on Nauru again early this year and recently became one of the only MPs to visit detainees on Christmas Island. He has visited Baxter a number of times. “Australia’s detention centres are a continuing litany of disasters. Despite costing Australian taxpayers billions of dollars, the Government is happy to let the situation continue to fester. “Many Australians who oppose the Government’s policy are taking action tomorrow, either protesting or joining the hunger strike,” concluded Senator Bartlett. Media contact - Daele Healy - 0419 867 649