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Vanstone's detention & deportation policies mad and bad: Australia deporting asylum seekers to danger.



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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 04/1132 THURSDAY 9 DECEMBER 2004 SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS & SPOKESPERSON ON IMMIGRATION & MULTICULTURALISM Vanstone's detention & deportation policies mad and bad AUSTRALIA DEPORTING ASYLUM SEEKERS TO DANGER Detaining Iraqi asylum seekers for years when they cannot return to Iraq is 'mad and bad' policy, according to Democrats' Leader Senator Andrew Bartlett. In question time today Senator Bartlett asked Immigration Minister Senator Vanstone what the detained Iraqis detained were meant to do, since the UNHCR has said they should not be sent to Iraq. The Minister ignored the question and went off on a bizarre tangent claiming it was offensive to wish a Muslim 'Merry Christmas'. The Democrats have called on the Government to review whether methods used in deporting asylum seekers were legal, in response to a report into a number of deportations of unsuccessful asylum seekers. The report, "Deported to Danger" found breaches of Australia's humanitarian obligations towards these asylum seekers, as well as raising serious concerns about the legality of procedures used to provide the necessary travel documents for their journey. The report author Phil Glendenning, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre, addressed a refugee rights seminar in NSW Parliament House today organised by the Don Chipp Foundation Senator Bartlett said the Minister should review the issues raised in the report, which we will forward to her. "This report raises quite serious allegations about the legality of the behaviour of government officials. The Government should investigate these allegations," Senator Bartlett said. The report "Deported to Danger" can be viewed at http://www.erc.org.au/research/1096416029.shtml The report was partly funded by the Don Chipp Foundation's research program. Senator Bartlett is a board member of the Don Chipp Foundation, an independent research body affiliated with the Australian Democrats. Media Contact - Rowena Bew - 0400 729 255