The Liberal and Labor parties have allowed the indefinite detain children and unaccompanied minors in Nauru and PNG.
The Greens do not support the mandatory detention of children. We have introduced a bill to end this practice. Children don't belong in detention and our Bill will force the government to finally get them out
Australia is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and we must uphold those standards. We need a permanent approach to ensuring that the best interests of the child are paramount.
For years, experts have been telling us that detention is an entirely unsuitable place for any child, particularly those who have already been forced to seek asylum. The mental effects of mandatory detention can be devastating for children.
We know that children face a significantly high risk of long term mental and physical consequences as a result of detention. Some of these children have spent their whole lives behind bars, having committed no crime other than being born in a country from which they are forced to flee.
The Greens are working hard to:
- End the mandatory detention of children
- Make sure the best interests of the child are the paramount consideration in decisions under the Migration Act regarding the accommodation of children.
- Put legislative time limits on how long children and their families who are detained intially can be held in family-appropriate facilities before they are moved into the community.
- Remove the conflict of interest of having the Minister for Immigration as the legal guardian of unaccompanied minors, seeing as he is the same person who decides to keep them in detention
- Guarantee that all asylum seeker children of school age must be given access to local schooling.
The children deserve better and Australia deserves better. As a nation we shouldn't compromise our core values by damaging those who have sought our protection. We must end the mandatory detention of children and give them a good start to life as they deserve.