Royal Commission into prisons and detention centers
or prison should
convince Labor to
push for a royal
AUSTRALIA/CUBA Federal Labor's new immigration spokesman Tony Burke says after visiting the Baxter detention centre he is now more convinced then ever of the need for a royal commission into immigration detention.
Mr Burke's visit to Baxter yesterday was his first trip there.
He says even the findings of the Palmer inquiry differed to what he was told by detainees at Baxter.
"Everything that we've said about the royal commission and the need for evidence to be taken publicly was right," he said.
"It was spot on and the contradictions that were presented to me ... just confirmed that and secondly a very clear message that these detention centres should not be in private ownership.
"There should be a clear line of command from the minister, through the department to government-run centres."
He says his visit put a human face to the plight of long-term detainees.
"We believe there are better ways and the 90 per cent of cases and the 90 days that I mentioned is one of those," he said.
"But the other thing that you need is huge cultural change and unless the Government is serious about that then we're not going to get the changes on the ground that we need.
"Perhaps the first to get a removal pending visa should be the Minister."
A nurse who cared for the Australian woman wrongly deported to the Philippines, Vivian Alvarez Solon, says Ms Solon suffered serious convulsions a day before she was declared fit to be flown out of Australia.
Filipino-Australian nurse Mayette Mackintosh has said that she informed Immigration guards of Ms Solon's condition and recommended she not board a plane.
"She just starting to have a spasm and really shaking, you know, having some sort of fit," she said.
"I brought it to the attention to the two Immigration officers. They said that they have to inform the Immigration Department about the condition."
The next day, Dr Peter Wynn examined Ms Solon and declared her fit to fly.
He says he was not told of her seizure or her medical history.
"It does, it worries you a little bit. They're withholding information because it would change your approach, possibly send her to hospital that night for evaluation from the neurological department," he said.
"Other things could have been done if that was evident and that obvious."
Former Supreme Court judge Marcus Einfeld, who is advising Ms Solon, says the Immigration Department was in a rush to prove Ms Solon could fly.
"I think this doctor must have been under an enormous amount of pressure from the department to give a favourable report and that's what he did," he said.
Professor Louise Newman from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists says it is not good enough.
"I think after this case all clinicians will be well advised in their dealings with the department," she said.
"I dare say that if this doctor had been aware that Ms [Solon] would be sent to a hospice for the dying, his decision and concerns would have been even greater."
Ms Solon's legal team is currently trying to secure compensation for her wrongful deportation to the Philippines in 2001.
Well our prisons and institutions have all fallen by the wayside so why not have a Royal Commission into prisons and detention centers? Seen as how the punishment appears to be the same even for an alleged terrorist who can be treated like the worst of the worst criminals, regardless if any case has been made against them in a court of law.
Vivian Solon, also known as Vivian Alvarez and Vivian Young, is an Australian citizen who was wrongfully deported to the Philippines by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) in July 2001. In May 2005, it became public knowledge that she had been deported, although DIMIA knew of their mistake in 2003. Solon's family had listed her as a missing person in early 2001, and until May 2005, did not know that she had been deported. The circumstances surrounding Solon's wrongful deportation have caused much controversy in the Australian media.
Solon migrated from the Philippines to Australia in the 1980s on a spousal visa after marrying an Australian man, with whom she had one child. A later relationship resulted in another child. According to her family, Solon had a history of mental illness that DIMIA officials were unaware of when they encountered her.
Black and blue justice in Port Hedland
Black and blue justice in Port Hedland - Project SafeCom website - 13 July 2005 -
On December 4, 2003, anger arose at the Port Hedland detention centre. Of course it did: a busload of high school girls had arrived in town, all the way from Mandurah Catholic College - they had previously developed a correspondence relationship with the detainees - with their teacher. And the girls who had travelled almost 2000 kms, had come to visit the refugees in the detention centre...
Protest against detention centres at Global Solutions office in Melbourne
As the Student of Sustainability Conference winds up, news is filtering back to Perth that crew have staged a "peaceful but rowdy protest in the Melbourne office of the operator of Australia's detention centres, Global Solutions Limited...
Planning for Tampa Day 2005
Join us to plan a protest to mark the 4th anniversary of the Tampa incident, where the Howard government embarked on a new phase in its asylum seeker policies, using heavily armed SAS squads to hijack the MV Tampa, a Norwegian freighter which had rescued some asylum seekers from a tiny sinking tub...
'Anna's nightmare' in detention's living hell
"She was unco-operative during the medical induction, by crying, being confused and upset," Mr Palmer says.
Baxter, 'akin to the time in Nazi Germany'
I was not too worried about being charged for flying a kite at Baxter, because even if I was locked up for this, I would know what the charge was, and how long the incarceration was for. This is more than those adults and children (including orphans!) detained indefinitely in our concentration camps have.
Detention policy: Change Your Mind
Unless Australians are satisfied with the cost of the policy and the devalued reputation that has blemished our human rights record, including locking up children and even our own citizenry in detention, then some people might say that it really didn't work at all.
Gov't Failure Card: Community
The controversial plan was yesterday raised by Queensland Premier Peter Beattie, who suggested a national ID card to prevent unlawful detention similar to that suffered by Cornelia Rau and Vivian Alvarez.
Swiftly investigate misconduct and assault, review urges
The review also recommends changes to reduce the time taken by the department's complaint handling unit to investigate accusations of misconduct. Juvenile centres deal with a large number of complaints because staff have wide powers to use physical force against violent inmates even though that lesson only gets short term results and in the long term opposed to dialogue only teaches them a very bad lesson, 'that violence wins'.
MISTREATED IN CUSTODY - NO ACCOUNTABILTY:
CSO2, who I can identify by sight, called me a stupid bitch. He told me I was not going to get bail and that I'd better watch for all those big lesbians when I went to goal. I am a victim of sexual assault by both women and men and this is an appalling thing to say. He said this to taunt me, as he knew that I am a victim of sexual assault, as I had revealed this to CSO's when they were trying to talk me into being strip-searched.
A VISIT TO THE NSW HRMU, SUPERMAX PRISON
When I got home I felt that I had to have a shower and wash all my clothes to get rid of the nasty feeling, and then I had to go for a long bike ride before I could feel completely free again, because when you go in there as a visitor, you come out feeling that you have been a prisoner.
Community Forum on Law Enforcement Violence
This breakfast forum will include a spiritual dedication, culture presentation, film screening of "Sooner or Later, Somebody's Gonna Fight Back*," and panel discussion with family members of victims and survivors of law enforcement violence, law experts, and community organizers. Panel participants include: Jerry Thomas, father of Jenard Thomas; Malcolm Suber, veteran revolutionary fighter against police terror; and Ernest Jones, civil rights & criminal defense attorney.