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New spotlight on mandatory detention laws.

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New Spotlight On Mandatory Detention Laws Robert McClelland - Shadow Attorney-General

Media Statement - 14 July 2000

A challenge to the Northern Territory's mandatory detention laws to be led by Cherie Blair QC, wife of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, will attract tremendous international attention.

"This is a reflection of the depth of concern that exists around the world in relation to the Northern Territory's mandatory detention laws.

"This international attention will damage Australia's international reputation at a time when we should be showcasing ourselves to the world at the Olympic Games and during the lead up to our Centenary of Federation celebrations.

"This embarrassment to Australia is the direct result of a lack of leadership from John Howard and Dennis Burke in failing to tackle mandatory detention head on.

"There are successful alternatives to mandatory detention which have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing crime and recidivism in other Australian States, and internationally.

"The Howard-Burke deal did not pick up on any of these and was simply designed to get the issue off the front pages in Australia.

"It has not addressed the underlying inequities or the continuing concerns of fair-minded Australians.

"John Howard and Dennis Burke should be ashamed that their lack of leadership has now caused international embarrassment to Australia."

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.