Again, we thank Mr. Oakeshott for taking the time to listen to our concerns and raising them with the Minister.
Minister Bowen’s response is attached below, in which he clarifies that he does have the authority to release Ranjini, but has chosen not to.
Mr Oakeshott: asked the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, in writing, on 30 May 2012:
‘Is the Minister aware of the case regarding Ranjini Perinparasa, a refugee from Sri Lanka who has been detained indefinitely due to an adverse security risk assessment by ASIO, and if so, can he provide advice on the status of the case and clarify whether Ministerial discretion applies in this instance.’
Mr Bowen: The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
‘I am aware of the case regarding Ms Ranjiny (Ranjini) Perinparasa. Ms Perinparasa and her two children are currently being accommodated at Sydney Immigration Residential Housing (IRH). This facility is an alternative place of immigration detention.
On 24 April 2012, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) advised the Department that the Director-General of Security issued an adverse security assessment to Ranginy Perinparasa who ASIO assesses to be directly (or indirectly) a risk to security within the meaning of section 4 of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979. This means that she does not fulfil the criteria for grant of a visa to settle in Australia permanently.
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship does have discretion to grant a visa in the public interest to any person in immigration detention. However, it is current Government policy that persons with an adverse security assessment not be released into the community.’
We would be interested to hear from Minister Bowen the answers to the following other questions:
Can the Minister confirm that in the absence of a willing third country, Ranjini will remain in detention indefinitely?
Is there any intention to review this policy which has resulted in a person being denied natural justice?
Does the Minister personally believe that this is the best practice for handling ASIO security assessments?
Will the Minister accept responsibility for any harm, physical or mental, that occurs to Ranjini or her family as a result of this detention?