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Mandatory Detention: Should The Needs Of The Individual Or The Needs Of The State Be Given Priority? When? Why?

968 words - 4 pages

Mandatory detention is a recurring problem in Australia due to its detention centres, lacking care of detainees, border protection and the overriding needs of state to that of the individual. The needs of the individual have to be prioritised to maintain Australia as being a global civil society, based on ethical responsibilities to better Australia's future. Although, this does not occur in our society.The needs of State, being the needs of Australia as a whole, are considered a great deal more than those rights of the individual. It is clear that the needs of the state take priority when the government established the "Pacific Solution". This legislation takes away parts of Australian territory from the migration zone, these territories include: the islands of Ashmore, Cartier, Christmas, Cocos and other offshore resources. This prevents asylum seekers from applying for protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention.This border protection scheme came about as to the response of the increase of asylum seekers aiming for Australia by boat. The "Pacific Solution" are denying people the opportunity to even have a chance at obtaining "refugee" status, which rules them out of enjoying a safe life in a country away from their own.The needs of the state also prove to take priority when the cost to the tax-payer is involved. The cost to Australian tax-payers in total is currently $211 million which is spent on detention, legal assistance, protection determination, and review and litigation costs for those illegal immigrants. Considering the high standard of living encountered by Australians, this amount of money is insignificant taking into account it is used for the protection of people who can no longer live safely in their own country.The needs of the individual prove lacking as currently detention centres in Australia are in poor condition, and are in some cases by no means safe for the detainee. The treatment of detainees are appalling, some officers intimidate them harshly. On January 30, 2001 six members of a parliamentary subcommittee visited Port Headland detention centre. They reported that the accommodation was terrible, the cells were dark, and detainees were locked up for the majority of the day. In the centre men were allowed to use only one ablution at a time so that some were forced to defecate in their cells. The minimal international standards of accommodation in detention include: shelter, clothing, ablutions, exercise and food to ensure the detainees' safety and privacy of the person and these standards only just being met; this proves the disgrace to which detainees have to live on a daily basis. These people have fled from their own countries which may be in war, in aid of protection, and it is evident that the government provides only minimal standards of accommodation.Wrongful detention and mistreatment of detainees has occurred with various people in...

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