I’ve just returned from two weeks visiting some of Australia’s most remote detention facilities. In eight different centres across Christmas Island, Curtin, Perth and Darwin I met with hundreds of asylum seekers caught up in Australia’s policy of indefinite detention.
If people in Australia were able to replicate my harrowing trip and come to any conclusion other than detention is a cruel, expensive and unnecessary farce of a policy, I would be shocked. Unfortunately, one of the problems with these centres being so remote is that most Australians will never get this opportunity.
So let me tell you what I saw.
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Before the body count was even finalised politicians used the latest asylum seeker tragedy to regurgitate their entrenched positions on border control.
At least seven people – including children - are dead. More are missing and thought to be dead, trapped in their boat which capsized off the coast of Java.
Seventy people, from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan were on board. Forty or 48 had been rescued, depending on your news source. Authorities believe the boat was heading for Australia. See news.com.au for the latest information. Last night while the numbers were still murky, political imperatives were crystal clear.
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