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Australia's Immigration Freedom Flight Fiasco

Immigration Freedom Flight 'Half Full' Fiasco

The Immigration Department has chartered a jet to bring 20 Vietnamese Refugees who have been held in detention on Christmas Island since 2003, to Australia on a half full freedom flight. The jet will touch down in Perth at 5pm WST on Friday 24 June leaving behind 12 closely related fellow Vietnamese who are long term detainees, including 3 children.

Refugee Advocate Mrs Kaye Bernard said, "The Immigration Minister could intervene and direct her department to provide boarding passes for the remaining 12 who fit the Bill for the PM's new Immigration policy." she added," the jet has 71 seats and the fiasco of leaving behind these 12 close family members, needs to be addressed by the Minister today."

Ms Bernard said, "I fear for the mental health and wellbeing of the 12, particularly the 3 kids and the 2 young girls as they will be left in a remote camp while their mates jet to freedom," and added, "Kids have been on suicide watch up there before and this unecessary separation of close family members leaves people devastated and on red alert"

The ABC's investigative unit has obtained documents that reveal that a mental health worker at the Christmas Island detention centre off Western Australia was unregistered to practise as a psychologist at the time. Thirty-four-year-old Hoai Phu Nguyen is the detainee referred to in the document ABC investigative unit obtained.

Hoai Phu is amongst the 12 to remain on Christmas Island and his sister, Hoai Thu, the mother of baby born in detention is said to be devastated by the her brothers circumstances as she prepares to make a new life in Australia.

"I am calling on the Government to prevent further damage to these kids and apply some common sense and the powers already in place to use the charter flight to bring the 12 to the mainland with their families." said Mrs Bernard.

Today, 18 year old Christmas Island detainee Giau Nguyen, to whom the Minister promised a 'sorry cake', asked the Minister to allow her family and the remaining other detainees to be allowed to come to Australia, in an interview on ABC radio AM programme.

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone intervened yesterday to grant temporary protection visas to an extended family who have been detained on Nauru since 2001, two parents, two sons, aged 15 and seven, two daughters aged 14 and eight and three male cousins aged in their early 20s.

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