News National Detention centres will be ‘a dark mark on our history’

Detention centres will be ‘a dark mark on our history’

Mr Bandt said detention centres were 'mental illness factories.'
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Greens Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt has called for a better and safer way for refugees to be processed so they don’t “die at sea and so we don’t lock them up and destroy lives”.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Bandt brought up the issue during Parliament’s Question Time, probing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about a campaign by medical staff at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital against the immigration detention of children.

Doctors are refusing to discharge asylum seeker children back into detention fearing further harm, like nightmares, bed wetting, depression and anxiety.

• Victorian doctors refuse to discharge asylum seeker kids
Nauru centre legality questioned
• What motivated a 15-year-old schoolboy to kill?

Mr Turnbull admitted the government’s border protection policies were tough and harsh but insisted they worked.

Speaking on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night, Mr Bandt said he refused to believe that the only choice was between “people dying at sea and child abuse”.

“Labor set up these detention centres and said that we are going to put kids in them, and as a result, we now have these appalling situations where doctors are saying, ‘I am not going to send a child back there because to send a child back there is to cause them harm’.

Ms Singh said what was happening at the detention centres was 'not humane'.
Ms Singh said what was happening at the detention centres was ‘not humane’. Photo: ABC

“They are saying these places that are being funded by us, as the Australian public and going on in our name, they are essentially mental illness factories.

“Now, no one, no one wants to see people dying at  sea, but I refuse to believe that our only choice is between people dying at sea and child abuse.

“We can find a better way that allows people to come here, through safer pathways, so they don’t die at sea and so we don’t lock them up and destroy lives.”

Tasmanian Labor Senator Lisa Singh ignored her party’s border protection policies while in power, and said the detention centre debacle “will be a dark mark on our history”.

“I think that the children need to be taken out of Nauru and our detention centres, and I think we do need to have a new conversation about refugee policy in this country,” Ms Singh said.

“I think it will be a dark mark on our history, and whilst I know that both parties supported offshore processing, that’s not what is going on.

“There is no processing going on. It is indefinite detention and that is not humane.”

Assistant Health Minister Ken Wyatt chimed in and said: “I want to remind Adam he was part of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor Government strategy around the detention centres.”

“When we came into government there were 2000 within Nauru, we now have it down to about 104,” Mr Wyatt said.

Mr Bandt interjected: “They weren’t left languishing for years.”

Islamic radicalisation ‘community effort’

The panel discussed a fatal terror attack in Parramatta on Friday, October 2, where 15-year-old Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar shot dead 58-year-old NSW Police Force accountant Curtis Cheng. During the police shootout, Jabar was also killed.

Sheikh Wesam Charkawi said the issue needed a community approach to rectify.
Sheikh Wesam Charkawi said the issue needed a community approach to rectify. Photo: ABC

A Q&A audience member asked what could be done to mitigate the people who make those following the Islamic religion “susceptible to radicalisation”.

Panel member and Muslim chaplain and community leader, Sheikh Wesam Charkawi, said it required a holistic effort.

“Islam is feared because it’s misunderstood. Not many know what it stands for,” Sheikh Charkawi said.

“I’m on the ground and I speak to a lot of these youth, and I can tell you that the reason why it requires a different way of doing things as to what we have previously done is because I’m seeing a lot of identity issues with the young men and women.

“I keep hearing from many on the streets and in the schools that I visit that they tell us that ‘we don’t belong’, they say that ‘we are not part of the Australian society’.

“What that leads to is to marginalisation, isolation, and if you add that to the mix of the propaganda that is being put forward by the groups like ISIS, it’s a very dangerous mix.”

Mr Bandt backed up this idea with examples from his electorate.

“One of the sets of stories that I hear time and time again, from people, is around this issue of engagement and employment, in particular, we have got people there who have got masters degrees driving taxis and what’s becoming even worse is we are finding it now happening to the second generation,” Mr Bandt said.

“Picking up on the point before, there are children who are born here who have gone to Melbourne uni or RMIT or Sydney uni, get a degree, they send off applications for job interviews, they don’t get a call and as soon as you change your name from Mohammad to David – the phone starts ringing.”

Mr Wyatt said: “The debate we have within the community shouldn’t be just focused on a religion.”

View Comments