Welcome by Lynne to a full (overflowing) house "We are here to explore issues around visas
and to say
The issue (we) will not go away!"
Senator Andrew Bartlett
Need to introduce JUSTICE in the immigration area
First need to say it is about human beings and decisions made in the parliament.
The consequences are felt by individuals, families and society.
It is very easy for things to drop off the radar.
Senator Bartlett spoke about the use of Ministerial Discretion as diminishing the rule of law and rights of review. he also spoke about the added trauma caused by Temporary Protection Visas as a direct consequence of the Law!
Dr Carmen Lawrence
Recent events vindicate the Asylum Seeker Reform Movement.
There are results.
There is a recognition that predictions of what was happening have been borne out by the evidence.
The government cannot say that Nothing Happened.
TPV's are in clear violation of Australia's legal obligations.
TPV's are discriminatory. They act against the most vulnerable.
Our international obligation is to have NO discrimination based on means of entry.
Rights of the Child obligations are breached by having no family reunion provision for TPV holders.
Bridging Visas are even worse!
A family from Rwanda who arrived on visitors visas. One child was left behind in Kigali. In February 2003 they were accepted to be refugees. (there was the use of ministerial discretion.) The daughter in Kigali cannot be reunited with family because of the visa they are on. (no family reunion)
Mother has had a nervous breakdown (quite ill)
Father, suffering post traumatic stress is caring for young children.
It is important to bring the issue back to individuals and personal suffering (as Andrew said)
The people from Nauru:
Some are on a five year TPV which might then go to permanent protection.
Others are on a
"rolling" three year TPV (after three years you might get another one)
some are on 1 year humanitarian visas,
some on 2 year
some on 3 year
all at ministerial discretion
then there are
Removal Pending visas
It is all COMPLICATED!
The Bridging Visa E
Indian couple in Canberra
Here for seven years, applied to change their visas (for permanency?) (all quite OK) but son with autism… so they are put on Bridging Visa E! with no work rights (they had been working… (community uproar saw this change.)
IN 2004, just before the election, it was said that after working for one year out in the country you might get permanent protection.
BUT, nothing has changed for the Kosovars so what is different here?
Today's story: (Tuesday 29th Nov 2005)
This morning Red Cross told these men (with Marion at the seminar) and their families that there would not be any help from Red Cross next week except for the one man who is stateless and has no visa and is out on "community detention"… Therefore he has the house and furniture. His wife and children on Bridging Visa 'E' are not entitled to anything. His friend and wife and two week old baby similarly are not entitled to anything.
DIMIA have told Red Cross there is no funding from next week, so Red Cross have cut off their help! "Central Office" of Red Cross agrees this is deplorable, but the people from Red Cross went to the house this morning and told them there would be nothing coming next week…
"Don't join with DIMIA!
Your duty of care is to the people
Not to DIMIA!"
Be independent of DIMIA!
Looking at the Red Cross Aims and Mission statement:
does it say "subject to funding by DIMIA?" NO!
"If you are going to hold hands with DIMIA, make sure you don't get into bed and then can't get out again!"
[Money from buckets tonight is going to these two families]
"ACTION" telephone Belinda at Red Cross 6206 6000 and the minister's office 6277 7860
Make the Department do their own dirty work.
from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (in Melbourne)
This time last year there was an election, without mentioning refugees. It was no longer a useful weapon. Politics is a mobile game.
Then along came
A detainee in Baxter said…
"She was an angel for us and she didn't know it."
and Cornelia had a sister.
Christine Rau did us a great service. She and Cornelia opened things up.
The 1958 Migration Act is still there. It is an appalling piece of legislation, amended over the years.
Children are still locked behind razor wire.
Last week a 17yr old was in an isolation room in Maribyrnong.
He was deported.
Last week two Iraqi boys whose parents were killed in Iraq were in Baxter. They are minors. Now they have been sent to Sydney. Who is looking after them there? Is DIMIA caring for them?
An 18yr old from Darfur…. the family split into three so some would survive. He ran for seventeen days to get to Chad. He met up again with his father there who paid a people smuggler to get at least this one boy out. He thought he was going to Britain, but arrived here. Spent six days in isolation in Baxter. Three words were spoken to him each day. Breakfast. Lunch, Dinner….
then a 20 minute interview…. Interviewer didn't know about Darfur! The Southern Civil war in Sudan is calming down but Darfur isn't. When this boy was running to Chad, if the helicopters came over he curled up into a ball and did not move. There was nowhere to hide. He had to hope they did not see him.
(and in Pamela's loungeroom, watching the TV; a stock auction at Condobolin brought the tears because it was what he used to do every week back home!)
People are being turfed out of Baxter into nothing.
But the nuns there have a NETWORK!
The Beating Heart of Australia!
At the top they are trying to change the system so there are not the horror stories.
But at the bottom, nothing has changed.
The mystery boat in the Kimberleys.
Mum and Dad and two babies (the two year old is called 'Brian') and two cousins. They wound up in Darwin and they are seeking asylum.
(They were found because the local Aborigines saw Indonesians going in and out of a motel and found out what was going on!)
People come out of detention and move up to eight times. They need a place of their own to live their lives.
Hospitals charge people on bridging visa E's. In Victoria the Minister of Health has directed hospitals not to charge. (NSW and ACT?)
What is happening?
Our hearts are shrivelling.
It's not the department
it's the rules!
Australia is the only western country that gives temporary visas for people who are recognized as refugees.
One man, on TPV, sole breadwinner for family still in a refugee camp, he has been in and out of a psych hospital five times since being in Baxter.
The young males locked up between 17 and 22…
"Every good Muslim boy discusses everything with their mother"
a nun is not a good substitute!
One young man approached a prostitute. (sensible thinks Jane) But, she was an undercover policewoman! Now he has a criminal conviction; and what does that say about "character" when a new visa is being discussed?
FIfty people Jane knows from Baxter have been through psychiatric hospitals.
Some Afghanis had been in Baxter for four years because DIMIA mistakenly identified them as Pakistani.
Talk to everybody! Everybody in Parliament! (RAR worked on rural members very well.) Be personal.
Tanya acknowledged the people who showed us how to fight… they were the detainees themselves in 2001.
Refugee Action Committee ~ LPO Box 8287, ANU,
Canberra ACT, 0200 ~ Tel 02 6249 8613
Email ~ http://www.refugeeaction.org/index.html ~ Webmaster
Page modified 1 December 2005