Tamils cheated by smugglers
Paul Toohey; 22/10/08 (5 Items)
The 16 Sri Lankan Tamils being held in the Dili lock-up began drifting into East Timor more than a year ago, all having paid $US5000-$US10,000 to a Malaysian-based smuggling syndicate to get to Australia.They flew from Colombo to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, then on to Bali and to Kupang, in West Timor, after which they crossed into East Timor by land. Thereafter the syndicate abandoned them. It had promised to provide the asylum-seekers with a boat from East Timor to Australia, but it never eventuated. Most of the Sri Lankans, aged from 21 to 45, decided to continue with their mission and set to work as illegal immigrants, slaving and saving to hire a boat ride from Same, on the south coast of East Timor, to Darwin. With what remaining money they had, the Sri Lankans organised for three Indonesians and an East Timorese – also now in detention in Dili – to supply and crew a dodgy boat to take them to Australia.
Minister flags lower migrant intake
Paul Maley; 22/10/08
The global financial crisis looks set to result in a cut to Australia’s migrant intake, with the Rudd Government hinting strongly it will reduce next year’s quota amid fears the economy will slow. Immigration Minister Chris Evans told a Senate estimates hearing yesterday that Australia’s record high migrant intake should be cut. “I’d envisage certainly that the migration program for next year would be smaller than this year,” Senator Evans told the hearing.
Detainee payout to cost millions
Leo Shanahan; 22/10/08
Almost 200 people, including children, who were wrongfully locked up in immigration detention could be given tens of millions of dollars in compensation after it was found they had the right to stay in Australia. In a Senate committee hearing into immigration detention, the Immigration Department’s chief lawyer Robyn Bicket said at least 191 people could seek compensation from the Federal Government after wrongly being held in immigration detention. “Currently, we are at 191 cases where we believe there is risk of legal liability for compensation and 56 cases where we believe there is no compensatable risk involved,” she told a Senate estimates hearing.
Entrepreneur spent 8 years in Villawood
Connie Levett; 22/10/08
Before Villawood, Ms Bao said she had never seen barbed wire, or cockroaches and ants for that matter. Nearly eight years later, all of them spent in immigration detention, there is little evidence of the woman who was once a successful Hong Kong entrepreneur. Detained in January 2001 and held for 6½ years in Villawood, Ms Bao (not her real name) is now in community detention, having served more time in Australian immigration detention than any person. “Almost eight years now, even in community detention, you are still in detention. I have suicidal feelings,” Ms Bao said, speaking publicly, through a translator, for the first time. “After eight years my mental health is gone. How much longer do I have to wait?
Changes won’t encourage people smugglers: Evans
Immigration Minister Chris Evans has rejected claims that changes to immigration detention policy will encourage more people smugglers to target Australia. Liberal Senators used a Senate estimates committee hearing last night to question Senator Evans over moves to scrap temporary protection visas and a decision to abandon the previous government’s ‘Pacific Solution’. The Opposition has predicted the changes will result in more people arriving in Australia without authorisation.