The Australian Government has admitted that twenty six Australian citizens have been wrongfully detained in immigration detention. This was revealed
recently, when the former immigration minister, Phillip Ruddock confirmed that "26 of another 220
possible wrongful detention cases being
investigated by the Commonwealth Ombudsman involved Australian citizens."
"Of the 220 cases bearing the descriptor 'released not unlawful' the department has identified 26 cases involving Australian citizens," he
Mr Georganus said the revelation was disturbing.
"When you see 26 Australian citizens locked away in Australia in a democratic country in the year 2006, you lose all confidence," he told the Seven
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And they call Australia the lucky country. This current story has just raised it's head, however, it has been preceeded by two confirmed cases of
citizens being detained and deported. The first case was Cornelia Rau, a woman originally from Germany who was suffering a mental illness. The second
was Vivian Alvarez, a disabled woman who was deported to the Phillipines.
Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) spokesman Ian Rintoul says the entire Immigration Department should be fully investigated.
He says he received a reply last week stating that 26 wrongful detention cases were currently being investigated by the ombudsman.
"I think the revelations simply add to a very long list of incompetence by the Government and at a time when the Government is talking about sending
all asylum seekers to Nauru," he said.
If you've never heard of Nauru, it's a small island off the coast of Australia, which was completely exploited for it's phosphate reserves (which
ran out about ten years ago). It's a very inhospitable place, with little to no natural water, scarse foliage and huge chasms across the island
caused from the mining.
Add to that, the policy of taking any people who may arrive by boat to one of these islands (which Australia has removed from their migration zone), a
situation that may have been setup to circumvent processing under Australian law, we now have a system badly in need of overhaul. However, the last
overhaul the government did, was to create this mess, so I don't hold much hope in the current administration to sort this out.
Independent investigation is what is required. At the least, this situation goes against the myth of Australia being an egalitarian worker's
paradise. At the worst, we may be contravening our agreements to various U.N. charters on human rights. Either way, it doesn't seem to hurt the
architects of this mess, as Phillip Ruddock, the former immigration minster, is now the Attorney General.
Related News Links:
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