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Man undertakes nine-day walk for child detainees

Man undertakes nine-day walk for child detainees

An Adelaide man has yesterday started on a nine-day walk to highlight the plight of child detainees, especially those in the Baxter detention centre and housing compound.

Mr Bernie Scanlon, a worker at Adelaide St Luke's Mission for the homeless, started yesterday on his 345 km walk from Adelaide to Port Augusta. With the walk he is also hoping to raise money to assist the children in some way.

"Today, day two of Mr Scanlon's walk", Project SafeCom's Jack Smit remarked, "is marked by the expected issuing of the ruling by the SA Federal Court on the application to restrain the Minister of Immigration from further detaining the children, whose Family Court case that ordered their release from detention was last week overruled by the Australian High Court."

"The High Court judgement seems to imply that the International Convention of the Rights of the Child has no bearing on the power of the Migration Act, and the second court case, the Full Federal Court (Secretary DIMIA vs Mastipour) showed that the Minister of Immigration has supreme and unchecked powers over what (s)he does with people who are inside a detention centre - because there are no regulations whatsoever about the nature of detention and about what happens to people once they are inside a detention centre."

"We now have a situation where the Migration Act is the Supreme Ruling, and where the Immigration Minister is the Supreme Ruler. In principle, these are the clear determinants of a political dictatorship".

Project SafeCom spoke with Mr Scanlon by phone about his walk. "Ah look", Mr Scanlon commented, "these places are no places for kids, it shouldn't be like this, and then for such a long time. Your heart goes out to them when you think of it..."

Mr Scanlon's walk to Pt Augusta will take nine days. He can be contacted on his mobile phone during the next two days before the phone will be out of range.

© Scoop Media

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