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Senate rejects Vanstone's flawed inquiry.



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FOR MEDIA

SENATOR JOE LUDWIG

Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate Labor Senator for Queensland

9 February 2005

SENATE REJECTS VANSTONE’S FLAWED INQUIRY

Tonight the Senate has voted to reject the Government’s call for a private inquiry into the Cornelia Rau affair.

Labor’s Manager of Opposition Business, Senator Joe Ludwig said, “the Senate has rejected Amanda Vanstone’s ‘closed shop’ inquiry.”

“Tonight the Senate has voted instead in favour of a full public inquiry.”

“It’s extraordinary that Senator Vanstone talks of a full and frank inquiry yet the inquiry she offers will have its hearings conducted away from public scrutiny.”

“Labor believes the inquiry model proposed by Minister Vanstone is flawed because Minister Vanstone was unable to guarantee that the inquiry :

• Will have legal powers to compel the attendance of witnesses • Will able to administer an oath to witnesses • Will be able to compel production of documents or items such as videotape footage

• Will be able to protect witnesses or testimony • Will itself be protected from legal action such as defamation.”

“It’s not even clear whether Senator Vanstone’s office will be open for investigation, or whether the Senator herself, or her advisers, will be able to be called to testify.”

“Labor was not convinced the Government’s model would lead to a fair outcome for Cornelia Rau and her family.”

Senator Ludwig moved the motion for Labor as attached, and it was passed this evening with the assistance of minor parties and independents.

ENDS.

For further information contact: Simon Every 02 6277 3460/0417 955 182

Wording of Motion attached below:

That in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

The need for the Federal Government to: a) establish a fully transparent and independent public inquiry into the detention of Ms Cornelia Rau. b) establish an Inspector General of Immigration Detention and an operational secretariat for monitoring conditions of immigration detention and to deal with complaints from detainees and their advocates. c) guarantee access to immigration detainees by independent external medical and psychiatric personnel.

CARRIED