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Thread: Free The Children

  1. #1
    AussieSheila's Avatar Dazed & Confused
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, has launched a petition aimed at freeing children in detention. This petition calls for Australians to sign but I can't see why the rest of the world shouldn't know about it. After all, this is an international problem, the majority of these children are born overseas.

    Port Hedland Detention Centre

    I was chatting to an overseas friend today and he thought I was talking about children being held on drug charges or something. Are overseas people aware of the problem?

    I see this situation as horribly shameful and another thing to add to the injustices already served in this country over the last 200 years. I can't believe that such a thing could happen in this day and age.

    Baxter Detention Centre

    I know it's long, but please read the following document from
    Suzan Davies
    Associate to the Hon. Justice P Hely
    Federal Court of Australia

    Former PM's petition to free children from detention

    Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser is seeking signatures to a petition addressed to the Prime Minister, John Howard, and Minister for Immigration, Senator Amanda Vanstone, seeking the release of 94 children held by Australia in Immigration Detention in Australia and 90 in the Pacific.

    Mr Fraser has launched this campaign to provide opportunities for as many Australians as possible to register their opposition to the detention of children.

    Based on the November figures from A Just Australia, the children are held at the following detention centres:

    Villawood 32 children
    Maribyrnong 1 child
    Baxter 22 children
    Woomera Housing Project 7 children
    Port Hedland 15 children
    Port Hedland Housing 2 children
    Christmas Island 15 children
    Nauru 90 children

    The petition states:

    "The oldest children in detention are living out their teens behind razor wire and electric fences. The youngest is a baby born a month ago, who was placed in detention in Baxter shortly after his birth. The physical, emotional and psychological damage detention inflicts on children is well documented and not in dispute. Some children in Australian detention centres have been unnecessarily imprisoned for years. In Sweden the maximum time a child is kept in custody is six days.

    "Detention of children is, in several instances, part of the enforced separation of families. Current solutions to the detention of children are inadequate and fail to fully protect children's needs and rights. Mothers and children are housed under guard in houses outside the centre while fathers remain inside. Boys older than 12 have been separated from their mothers and forced to live in the detention centre proper.

    "Under the regulations of the Temporary Protection Visa some families are split, with dependant children stranded in other countries, and their parents unable to find a solution that will reunite the family. These families live in uncertainty, fear and intense anxiety. Their children suffer in ways that would terrify any parent. The detention of children and Temporary Protection Visa, especially its effect on separated families, breach Australia's obligations under international conventions and protocols.

    This is not how we as Australians want to treat families. The needs and rights of children must be put first. We the undersigned call for an immediate end to the detention of children.

    "We call for an immediate change to regulations that enforce separation between parents and dependant children. We call for changes in legislation that will protect future children arriving unauthorised on Australian territory or in Australian waters. Damaging children is not acceptable to us as Australians.

    A Just Australia National Director Howard Glenn said, "Most people don't want to see children in detention. This petition is one clear way they can make that known to their elected representatives."

    A number of children have been detained for more than three years. Many have lived much of their lives either fleeing persecution or detained under Australian policy. Few of them are likely to be released soon unless the Minister for Immigration acts on compassionate grounds.

    To access the on-line petition, go to: PETITION ONLINE
    or at A JUST AUSTRALIA - Media releases Baxter Watch has links to other detention centres. BAXTER WATCH

    The Oppostion's spokesperson for Population and Immigration, Nicola Roxon, is also asking people to join her in asking the Government to release all children from detention by Christmas this year. "It has been 12 months since the Government made bold claims to be changing their policy towards children in high security detention. Despite this there are still around 200 children in high security detention both in Australia and in Nauru," she said.

    She will also introduce a Private Members Bill into Parliament next week, calling for the immediate release of children and their families into alternative accomodation, including community housing, and hostels. There will be a launch of free-the-children campaign materials on December 1 at Parliament House, Canberra.

    The Port Hedland they don't see.

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  3. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Cairns, Queensland.
    Well done Andie, a great thread.

    I'll put a link to the petition in my sig.

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    And where should they go when they are free ? at least they are with their parents in them places.

    I think if the children had a choice from living with foster parents in a house or living in a detention centre with their parents, they will choose to be with their parents.

    If they are going to free the children, they should free their parents too because they have been in them centres for so long and the only people these children would trust are their parents and wouldnt want to be seperated from them.

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    AussieSheila's Avatar Dazed & Confused
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    Aug 2003
    Whoa! High praise. Thank you Billy Dean.

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    Honey's Avatar unbreakable
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Perth, Western Australia
    Andie.... you have really done a great job of "outing" this disgraceful situation. Australia was a signee of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and as such should be looking long and hard at exactly what that Declaration states.

    No child should live under such horrific conditions, but... what is the solution? To take the children away from their parents? The idea of seeking asylum may be a good idea in the short term but there has to be some forethought from the parents themselves. Should we as taxpayers continue to keep paying the exorbitant costs associated with these detention centres?

    There should be some time limit placed on lengh of time asylum seekers can be detained. Perhaps setting up halfway houses would be a better solution?

    As all the Aussies would be aware most of these detention centres are here in Western Australia where i live, but we get very little press unless it involves riots.
    I guess out of sight is very much out of mind!

    One of the concerns i have with Mr Frazers petition is WHERE are these children going to be housed if they are released? It's a frightening proposition to think they may be taken away from their parents and possibly their siblings. It's really hard to know exactly what the best thing for all concerned is. Once again it seems that there are no easy answers. Unfortunately..... for those innocent children.

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    AussieSheila's Avatar Dazed & Confused
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Originally posted by AussieSheila@3 December 2003 - 01:09

    She will also introduce a Private Members Bill into Parliament next week, calling for the immediate release of children and their families into alternative accomodation, including community housing, and hostels. There will be a launch of free-the-children campaign materials on December 1 at Parliament House, Canberra.

    Honey? Neatto? This covers where to put the families.

    There is a better way.


  8. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    Shit i missed that part....


  9. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    I signed the petition straight away. I think this situation is a disgrace, and hopefully more people will become aware, and something will be done about it.

  10. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    UKMan's Avatar Poster
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Well done Andie - i'm sure this overseas friend of yours is not alone in being unaware of the plight of these children.

    Even if the situation to some might might seem so far away, as most situations like this are for the majority of us in western Europe, its very important to bring things like this out into the open. I wont pretend to know the answer, but i do know that with this small gesture from your part, you may just help sow the seeds for another flower of hope to blossom for these children.

    God bless your efforts Andie and may someone somewhere be moved enough to help in some small way.

    The problem is a very complex one, one i am not familiar with, but after reading this over a few times, hopefully i will have more understanding. Thank you

    UKMan x

  11. The Drawing Room   -   #10
    Good work Andie - I would like to give an informed response but I didn't know anything about the situation over there until reading your post. I know more now - maybe that's a good response??

    I can't believe they keep children locked up in cases of up to 3 years due to the actions of their parents (and their parents too for that matter - if it's an immigration issue). No easy answer to this one although I'd go for family hostels from what I know.

    I think a lot of it goes back to the idea of borders on this planet. If history had dealt that W & E Australia were 2 completely different countries and war broke out in the other - how would you feel about people crossing the divide to find safety? It would feel fine for most given how we feel now yet with the conditioning of "borders" people get territorial.

    I would like to see people have free reign to live wherever they want in the world. OK - it may bring some chaos and overcrowding etc.., and I have no idea how the logistics of it would work out but when you get people drowning whilst hidden in cargo tanks and children locked up it's obviously not working this way.

    If it had started like that (without borders) it'd be fine but unfortunately we are coming from the wrong angle, which is a pretty sharp one. The world’s in an unnatural state hence the tension and any change will bring friction.

    I DO KNOW there are many difficulties and grey areas when it comes to immigration but from the way the world is now it’s a long way off until any decent solution is accepted politically.

    I am uninformed on this but I am a father. I’ve signed the petition as, whatever the effects are of setting unmanageable precedents on immigration (although probably a good move), the world should not go on locking up children like that.

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