Senate Vote Backs Amendments To Remove Kids From Detention Centres

The Senate has today brought Australia is one step closer to removing children from detention centres by voting in key amendments to the Migration and Maritime Powers Amendment Bill (No. 1), to which we can only say one thing – good. 

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced the amendments this morning, which seeks to:
  • Allow journalists reasonable access to detention centres
  • Make reporting of all assaults mandatory
  • Reverse the harsh whistleblower penalties introduced in the Border Force Act
And today, the Senate voting in support of all four of these amendments (a fifth amendment, requiring refugees to be detained separately from non-citizens facing deportation on character grounds, was not voted in).
It’s a massive win for the Greens, who have been campaigning for children to be removed from detention for years.
“These children have had their childhood taking from then, at least now they can have a real Christmas,” Senator Hanson-Young said in a statement.

“The government has to recognise the will of the Senate on this and begin to remove these children as soon as possible.”

The bill will now return to the House of Representatives, where the Greens say it will be up to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to decide if they’ll pass the “historic” legislation.

“Malcolm Turnbull has a decision to make,” Senator Hanson-Young said. “Will he reverse the will of the Senate and the people just so that he can keep children locked up in detention?”

“For the sake of the children and the heart of the nation, I hope the Prime Minister does the right thing.”

The government controlled House of Reps has three choices: pass it, reject it, or amend it, likely by removing the added amendments. If they do that, then it’ll have to go back to the Senate, which will likely amend it again. 

There are two weeks left of Parliament in 2015.

Lead image: Facebook.