Australian Opposition's call for refugee detention inquiry wins support from Greens, independent

07:46, May 23, 2011      

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Australian Opposition's push for an inquiry into immigration detention on Sunday won cautious support from the Australian Greens and Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Andrew Wilkie.

System of Australia's immigration detention network has been under intense pressure over the past few months as a number of violent protests occurred in detention facilities including the one in Villawood in Sydney.

On Saturday, Opposition Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said there needs to be a wide-ranging inquiry into the well-being of asylum seekers and staff, as well as the cost of running detention centers.

"With an average of more than three critical incidents being reported every day in the detention network, ranging from self- harm and serious assaults to riots, fires and even deaths, the Government must now be held to account for the daily failures now occurring in our detention system," he told ABC News.

He said the party will move to set up a parliamentary scrutiny into problems within the immigration detention network.

The inquiry, if supported, would inquire and report on the riots at Sydney's Villawood and the Christmas Island detention centers, and the expansion of the detention network.

Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young indicated the party are willing to support a federal parliamentary inquiry into the immigration detention network, so long as it looks at the issue of mandatory detention.

Tasmanian Independent Andrew Wilkie said detention center arrangements were clearly in crisis, and he inclined to support the opposition's motion.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the government has long acknowledged the pressures on the detention system, but it is working hard to relieve that pressure by improving processing times for asylum claims and delivering a regional solution to the international problem of irregular migration and people smuggling.

Source: Xinhua
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