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The usual reply from Luke Hartsuyker

Dear Mr Griffin,

Thank you for your email.

There were no children in detention when the Howard Government left office in 2007 and it was Labor’s dismantling of our successful border protection policies which led directly to the 51,000 arrivals by boat, including more than 8,400 children, as well as the loss of 1,200 lives at sea.  

The number of children in detention peaked during the last Labor government at nearly two thousand and the Coalition has been seeking to address this legacy ever since.  It is obviously desirable that no person should be in detention and, sixteen months after coming to office, we have now reduced the number of children in detention to just 126.  We will only be satisfied when that number has reached zero.

The Government is working on moving as many children as possible out of detention as quickly as possible, but many of these remaining cases involve complex security concerns around their parents.  It is often the wish of the parents that the family unit should remain together.  We are, however, encouraged that no more children are entering detention.

The Government has recently considered a report by the Human Rights Commission in relation to border protection policies.  Many of the recommendations of the report have already been implemented by the Government; however, some would mean undermining the very policies that have allowed the nation to address Labor’s legacy.  I believe that our policy has saved lives and we should not deviate from successful measures which have restored the integrity of our borders.

Since coming to office, we have successfully closed eleven detention facilities, moving many occupants into the community or releasing them on bridging visas.  We will continue these efforts.

Yours sincerely,

The Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP
The Nationals’ Federal Member for Cowper
Assistant Minister for Employment

From: Mike []
Sent: Tuesday, 10 February 2015 4:38 PM
To: Hartsuyker, Luke (MP)
Subject: Asylum seekers

                                                                                                39, Rogers Drive,
                                                                                                Valla Beach
                                                                                                NSW 2448
                                                                                                Tel: 02  6569 5419
                                                                                                10th February 2015

Dear Mr Hartsuyker,
Yesterday I was utterly dismayed and horrified, but not at all surprised, to read  Professor David Isaacs'  and Alanna Maycock's account of their time on Nauru in December. We, the Australian people, get few insights into the disgraceful treatment meted out to asylum seekers in our name. We are deliberately kept in the dark, and for obvious political reasons. 
I applaud Professor Isaacs' courage in speaking out, notwithstanding the gagging clauses in his contract. The Australian people have a right to know about the outrageous and immoral consequences  of the government's obsession with stopping the boats at any price. As Professor Isaacs and Alanna Maycock say, imprisoning people indefinitely and without trial - people who have committed no crime - contravenes international law. Equally importantly, the policy contravenes the moral code of any country which claims to uphold civilised values.
Mr Abbott tells us that his government, of which you are a senior member, is listening and is ready to change. Given the widespread opposition to the government's unlawful and cruel treatment of innocent children and their mothers in offshore detention centres, will the government now take serious steps to close these centres ? They are a monstrous affront to humanity and bring shame on us all.
I look forward to receiving an answer from you to my specific question.

                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,

                                                                                                              Mike Griffin

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