Wednesday, 4 March 2015
Children in Detention
I, and also on behalf of Senators Wang and Hanson-Young, move:
That the Senate—
(a) recognises that Australia has an obligation to protect the health, safety and welfare of people placed in detention by the Federal Government regardless of the location of the detention centres;
(b) notes the jurisdictional issues involving detention centres, especially those located offshore, lead to allegations of abuse in these centres being referred to local police in relevant states or territories or in the countries in which the detention centres are located; and
(c) calls on the Federal Government to urgently ensure that all allegations of abuse involving children in detention are referred to the Australian Federal Police and investigated on an individual basis.
Thank you. This government is committed to removing children from detention. After six chaotic years of the previous government, in 2013, when the coalition took office, there were over 1,000 children in immigration detention; today there are less than 120.
All allegations of abuse involving children in onshore facilities are referred to either the AFP or state or territory police. All allegations of abuse involving children in Nauru are referred to the Nauruan Police Force. The Nauruan Police Force is supported by an AFP senior adviser based in Nauru. Where incidents of abuse involving children in detention have been brought to the attention of the minister or the department, appropriate investigations have been launched, such as that led by Philip Moss.
The government acknowledges the efforts of the Palmer United Party in removing children from detention through their support of the government's legacy caseload legislation last year. However, there are significant jurisdictional issues that can often impede or prevent the AFP investigating allegations which have occurred in a sovereign nation. The government is not able to support this motion.
Question agreed to.