24 December 2014

Reducing children in detention: Letter to Surf Coast Times

Dear Editor

I write in response to a letter in the Surf Coast Times (“Icing on Morrison’s cake”, 12/12/14).

The fact is that our government has reduced the number of children in detention by 50 per cent and the number is continuing to reduce.

The government is bringing all children on Christmas Island to the mainland before Christmas, some 100 children.

By early next year, the vast majority of children will be out of Australian detention centres.

My strong view is that no asylum seeker should be in detention, particularly children.  By the end of 2007 under the Howard Government, only four people remained in detention and none were children.  That’s  why implementing a strong set of policies to combat the insidious people smugglers’ trade is so important.

Our government has passed legislation delivering on the election commitment to restore Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) which resolves Labor’s legacy of 30,000 unprocessed cases.

Work rights will be granted to those living in the community awaiting processing of their claims, lessening the burden on taxpayers.

TPVs will provide access to Medicare and social security benefits.

New Safe Haven Enterprise Visas will encourage enterprise through earning and learning.  This provides refugees living and working in regional Australia with some very significant opportunities.

I urge local councils to nominate as a designated region so that refugees have every chance to live, work and settle here.

TPVs and SHEVs granted will be in addition to our annual refugee and humanitarian intake, currently 13,750.  This intake will increase, reaching 18,750 in 2018.

The boats are stopping as promised and we are getting on with the job of cleaning up Labor’s mess on our borders.

Our policies are underpinned by compassion because they are saving lives as well as restoring confidence and integrity to our migration program.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Henderson

Federal Member for Corangamite

24 December 2014