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Mum's the Word in Detention

New Baby Born In Detention; Will Minister Vanstone keep this baby in Detention or be more ‘flexible’?

25 March 2005


Mum's the Word in Detention

While Neomi Leong drew her first breath of freedom, baby Michael Andrew Tran was born on Monday 23 May 2005 into immigration detention in Western Australia.

Michael was delivered by caesarean section at Perth’s, King Edward women’s hospital with GSL guards standing watch at the door as part of compliance with Australia’s ‘mandatory detention policy’.

Newborn baby Michael’s parents, father Minh Dat and mother Hoai Thu have been in remote detention on Christmas Island since July 2003 after they fled Vietnam and arrived in Australia aboard the Hao Kiet.

Liberal Petro GEORGIOU has specifically cited the Hao Kiet people in his proposed private members Bill intended to change mandatory detention;

“It is fitting that we mark the achievements of the Vietnamese born and their children in Australia and the compassion of the Australian community in accepting them. But we now need to also reflect on the scores of asylum seekers who are still in long-term detention. Amongst them are 35 Vietnamese people, eight of whom are children, who are presently seeking asylum in this country. They came by boat, the Hao Kiet. They were intercepted by the Navy and taken to Christmas Island, where they have been in detention ever since that time in July 2003.

I do not know whether the Vietnamese detained on Christmas Island have a sound claim for refugee status—that needs to be determined by a fair process and on the evidence. But I do ask: do we need to keep these 35 women, children and men locked up for an extended period in a remote place while that occurs? There is a legitimate role for detention for specific purposes, such as to ascertain identity, to protect public health and safety and to prevent people from absconding.”

The parents of Baby Michael, have been told by DIMIA they will be sent back to Christmas Island in a few weeks.

Mrs Bernard says action needs to be taken for Baby Michael and all the kids so that they do not have to endure years behind the wire and end up banging heads against walls like Neomi Leong.


© Scoop Media

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