Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Labor unveils new risk-based detention policy.

Download PDFDownload PDF

Senator Chris Evans Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Labor unveils new risk-based detention policy

Tuesday 29 July 2008

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, today announced a suite of reforms to Australia’s immigration detention system.

Senator Evans said that under Labor’s reforms, detention in immigration detention centres will only be used as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time.

The Government will retain mandatory detention to support the integrity of Australia’s immigration program.

Senator Evans said the Government’s new policy will see the Department of Immigration and Citizenship take a risk-based approach to detention.

‘A person who poses no danger to the community will be able to remain in the community while their visa status is resolved,’ Senator Evans said.

‘The department will have to justify why a person should be detained. Once in detention, a detainee’s case will be reviewed every three months to ensure that the further detention of the individual is justified.

‘Children will not be detained in an immigration detention centre.’

Currently, people who are unlawful may be detained for years even though they pose no health or security risk to the community.

The minister said mandatory detention would remain for three groups of people who pose a risk to the community.

Unlawful non-citizens who present unacceptable risks to the community and people who have repeatedly refused to comply with their visa conditions will be detained.

Unauthorised boat arrivals at excised places, which include Christmas Island and Ashmore Reef, will still be subject to mandatory detention for health, identity and security checks.

Unauthorised boat arrivals at excised places will continue to be processed on Christmas Island but will now have access to legal assistance and an independent review of unfavourable decisions.

People who have no right to be here and those who are found not to be owed protection under Australia’s international obligations will be removed.