Government trying to bury asylums report in budget week: refugee group

The report following a two year inquiry by the Commission is being held by the Federal Attorney General Philip Ruddock, and his spokesman says it will be released some time this week.

Some reports submitted to the Commission’s inquiry, including one from Australasian Correctional Management which used to run the detention centres, have been critical of the government’s detention policy.

A spokesman for the group “A Just Australia” Howard Glenn says the government must give the report proper consideration.

“It needs to be given to the public as soon as possible so we can see what has happened over the last two and a half years. The government must release this report as soon as possible, but give it proper attention to the recommendations, rather than just dismissing them as they have with all other critical reports.”

Mr Glenn says it is unacceptable that there are still more than 150 children being held in immigration detention in Australia, and on Nauru and Christmas Island, under the federal government’s so-called Pacific solution.

He says recent changes in government policy including release into community detention have improved the treatment of some asylum seekers.

“There’s been a lot of action by now by the government quietly without fanfare. The changes have been to give bridging visas, to deal with some long term cases. There have been more children released since [Immigration] Minister Vanstone took on responsiblity, more of the long term cases, and that has been welcome but we don’t believe the community detention centres are a solution.”

But Mr Glenn says the government’s refusal to allow media access the immigration detention centres suggests it feels it needs to hide the conditions under which children are being held.

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