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Keep the children out of detention.



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M E D I A R E L E A S E

Stephen Smith MP Shadow Minister for Immigration Member for Perth

17/04 29 April 2004

KEEP THE CHILDREN OUT OF DETENTION

Labor believes that children should not be living behind razor wire in immigration detention centres such as Baxter and Port Hedland and has had this as an absolute commitment since 2002.

Labor welcomes Minister Vanstone’s work to get children out of these facilities and acknowledges the reduction in numbers of children in detention from 45 on 1 January 2004 to 25 children on 21 April 2004 at Baxter and Christmas Island.

Labor reminds the Minister that she cannot continue to deny Commonwealth responsibility for the Pacific Solution which continues to see over 80 children detained in Nauru.

While the High Court's ruling that the Family Court does not have the jurisdiction to release children from immigration detention does not necessarily come as a surprise, Labor calls on the Minister not to return the children involved in this case to detention.

Irrespective of legal technicalities, or indeed any views expressed in the forthcoming Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) report on Children in Detention, Labor does not need an expression of view either by the High Court or HREOC to be absolutely convinced that it is neither in the public interest nor in the interests of children for them to be detained behind razor wire in immigration detention centres.

Contact: Courtney Hoogen on (02) 6277 4108 or 0414 364 651