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Urgent reviews needed for immigration detention centre contracts

Persistent problems within detention centres such as detainees harming themselves, staff who lack adequate qualifications and abysmal mental health services are compelling reasons why the Immigration Minister must urgently review the operating contracts, the Australian Greens said today.

"The Greens have long argued that contracting to a private company is an inappropriate way to run the detention network in the first place," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Letter confirms DIAC’s lethargy on Greens’ fears about inadequate mental health services in detention centres

The Australian Greens' repeated warnings about inadequate mental health services for asylum seekers in indefinite detention have been proven, again, by the release of correspondence between the service provider IHMS and the Immigration Department.

"It is unacceptable the department delays taking action to improve mental health services, causing further damage to fragile people who should not be in detention," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Australian Greens back motion on Tibetan self-determination; condemn Beijing’s repression

The Australian Greens at their national conference on Sunday responded to the plight of Tibet by passing a resolution that recognised self-determination for Tibetan peoples and condemned the ongoing repression of Tibetans by the Chinese government.

"The old parties may go on ignoring Tibetan people, but the Greens are again using their voices to highlight Tibetan peoples' rights to their traditional homelands and to spiritual and political expression," Greens' spokesperson for Tibet, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Retrospective legislation aimed at scuttling a court case

The Australian Greens agree with professional bodies the Law Council of Australia, Law Institute of Victoria and Victoria Legal Aid which have all expressed concern proposed amendments to the Migration Act.

"We're concerned by the retrospective nature of the amendments," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"This bill will not catch the kingpins who are organizing the people smuggling syndicates, rather it's about the pretence of government taking action.

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Govt must establish 24-hr medical services for fragile detainees

Reports today that the ambulance called to Villawood to attend the suicide of a detainee on Tuesday night was phoned by a member of the public outside the facility is another reason why there must be 24-hour medical care at all detention centres, the Greens said today.

"With each day comes another sad revelation about the circumstances which led confirmed refugee ‘Shooty' to take his own life, because he was ignored by those meant to ensure his protection," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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Time limits would stop illegal detentions

The Australian Greens say putting time limits on detention would prevent a repeat of incidents such the unlawful detention of Indian student, Prashant Cherkupalli, who was inside Villawood for 18 months.

"This case raises many questions, including how many others are in similar situations," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"How many millions of dollars in compensation has the government paid because of mistakes by Immigration Department officials? We look forward to reading DIAC'S response later this week.

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Greens have the answers to streamline onshore assessment constraints

The Australian Greens have urged the Gillard government to grasp the moment and adopt a new, humane approach toward asylum seekers now that claims for protection will be assessed on the mainland.

"With the government now turning to onshore assessments, it must not to miss this opportunity to take a long-term response by performing them properly and quickly," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Marzieh Vefamehr

Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (15:41): I move:
That the Senate expresses its deep concern for the welfare of Iranian actress Ms Marzieh Vefamehr who has been sentenced in Iran to one year in jail and 90 lashings for her role in the South Australian produced film My Tehran For Sale.

Question agreed to.


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