It is not often that the geopolitical situation meets the local in such a cruel and devastating way as we have seen over the last couple of weeks. Yesterday in Sri Lanka they noted the third anniversary of the cessation of the internal conflict, yet the week before last at a suburban primary school in my electorate—at Mill Park Primary—two young kids were picked up by their mother and stepfather. They were taken with those parents to a meeting at the immigration department. The stepfather waited in the waiting room as the mother and two children went to be interviewed, as they thought. They returned to the waiting room to inform the stepfather that they were to be sent to Villawood detention centre, the mother having got an ASIO security clearance that did not warrant her remaining in community detention. Think of the circumstances of that new family. A woman that had come to Australia and was adjudicated as a genuine refugee now finds that, because of this ASIO assessment, she can no longer stay in the community. At present, she is in a housing unit at Villawood. She is under severe pressure. The two young boys have not returned to school yet, and this is having a devastating effect on them.
We have to raise the question: why is it that we continue to not have a procedure where the ASIO clearances can be questioned? There have been a number of suggestions. At the ALP National Conference it was voted unanimously that the government required a national security legislation monitor to propose how adverse security assessments of asylum seekers could be reviewed in a way that protected ASIO sources. The parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s immigration detention network also asked that we look at ways that the ASIO Act could be amended to allow for administrative review of these assessments without compromising national security. As theAge editorial of last Friday says:
The process for review would need to balance human rights against national security, but the task is hardly beyond the capacity of Australia’s experts.
For this family, I hope that we can find a way that we can get through this mire. Why is it that two young children have been radicalised by a decision made by an agency of this government? I hope that the government takes note of the situations like that of Ranjini Perinparasa and does something to allow these clearances to be looked at so we can balance the human rights and national security requirements.
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