Australia and Refugees, 19012002: An Annotated Chronology Based on Official Sources

Chronologies ONline

Social Policy Group

Dr Barry York - Social Policy Group

Last updated 16 June 2003

This Chronology is issued electronically. It will be kept up-to-date online. The date of the latest update is noted clearly above.


Part 7 of 10

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Chronology 2000-2001

 

Details

Source Documents

2000

In January, Minister Ruddock meets with high level Government Ministers and officials in Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The aim is to discuss the issue of people smuggling, to inform the five governments of Australia's strong position against people smuggling and the new laws to enforce it, and to develop a 'global approach' to the problem. The Minister also meets with representatives of the UNHCR, the International Organisation for Migration and the Red Cross. As a result of the meetings, agreements to cooperate are made in the areas of exchange of intelligence on people smuggling, increased technical cooperation, and (in the cases of Syria and Turkey) agreement on the return of illegal entrants. The cooperation represents an extension of cooperation against people smuggling. Australia already has in place a Memorandum of Understanding (signed on 25 January 1995) and effective working relationship with the Peoples Republic of China on the matter.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Releases:
MPS 001/2000, 7January 2000; MPS 002/2000, 12 January 2000; MPS 004/2000, 16 January 2000; MPS 005/2000, 19 January 2000; MPS 006/2000, 20 January 2000

2000

Announcing the return of 73 Chinese boat people, who landed illegally at Christmas Island in December 1999, Minister Ruddock says that since 1 November 1999, 29 boats and 2245 people have arrived illegally in Australia, mostly from the Middle East and the sub continent. Crew members arriving with such boats face up to 20 years in jail and up to $220 000 in fines.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 011/2000, 28 January 2000

2000

East Timorese who were admitted under temporary Safe Haven arrangements continue to return home, with 270 returned between 20 and 27 February. The UNHCR has assessed the situation in East Timor as safe, and East Timorese leaders, Xanana Gusmao and Jose Ramos-Horta, also call for the East Timorese to return.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 023/2000, 27 February 2000

2000

With the end of the European winter, Minister Ruddock announces that the remaining Safe Haven Kosovars in Australia, numbering about 500, are to be returned around 8 April. They have been in Australia on a temporary basis for almost a year. The cost to Australia of assisting the 3924 Kosovars under the Safe Haven program is $100 million.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 028/2000, 15 March 2000

2000

In March, Minister Ruddock visits six European nations (England, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy) for discussions to strengthen Australia's global approach to combating people smuggling. The European trip follows the Minister's January visit to Middle Eastern countries, which had the same anti-people smuggling goal.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 029/2000, 16 March 2000

2000

A charter flight is scheduled for 8 April to return the remaining Kosovars to their homeland. A total of 259 Kosovars are involved but 130 have their temporary visas extended, mainly for medical reasons. An additional 110 are allowed to apply for protection visas and two are permitted to apply for partner visas on the basis of a relationship with an Australian.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 033/2000, 3 April 2000

2000

The planning level for the 20002001 Migration (non-Humanitarian) Program is 76 000 places. There is an increase in the Skill Stream, especially in high demand occupations such as information technology and accounting. The Skill Stream target is 40 000, and the Family Stream is 34 4000. A total of 1600 places are reserved for the Special Eligibility Stream.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 034/2000, 3 April 2000

2000

The target for the 20002001 Humanitarian Program is set at 12 000 places, with possible supplementation by any unused places rolled over from the 19992000 program. Four thousand places are allocated to refugees and 4000 for the Special Humanitarian Program and Special Assistance Category combined. The latter is to be closed during 20002001. Minister Ruddock says that 'The increase in unauthorised boat arrivals to Australia in recent months has placed great pressure on the capacity of Australia to assist with resettlement of people in need overseas'. In expressing a desire to increase the number of places available offshore, the Minister says 'this will depend on the number of people claiming asylum onshore'. Priority in the offshore program continues to be given to former Yugoslavia, the Middle East, South West Asia and Africa.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 035/2000, 3 April 2000

2000

More than 250 boat people are feared drowned after three boats transporting them illegally to Australia disappeared. Intelligence gathered later suggests that the boats were overloaded and unseaworthy when they left Indonesia and that the gangs who smuggled the people may have tied their 'human cargo' with rope to prevent them rushing to the sheltered side of the boats in the prevailing bad weather conditions.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, DPS un-numbered/2000, 13 April 2000

B. Nicholson, 'Hundreds die tied up to hulks', Sunday Age, 23 July 2000

2000

The East Hills safe haven centre is formally closed on 6 May. The centre was the first safe haven to open and the last to close. It processed and received thousands of Kosovars and East Timorese.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 045/2000, 6 May 2000

2000

The 2000 Budget allocates an additional $116.8 million to introduce measures to tackle people smuggling and for a long-term strategy to establish new detention centres. More than $12 million is allocated to expand the number of DIMA compliance officers overseas, at posts in Islamabad, Belgrade, Moscow, Amman, Tehran, Suva and Cairo. More than $52 million is allocated for the construction of two new Immigration Reception and Processing Centres, at Darwin and Brisbane, and for the redevelopment of existing centres.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 046/2000, Budget Media Relase No. 1, 9 May 2000

2000

In May, migration regulations covering Australia's 'safe third country' arrangement with the People's Republic of China are renewed. The arrangement facilitates the return to the PRC of Sino-Vietnamese refugees who have been settled in the PRC and who have subsequently arrived in Australia unlawfully. The regulations are part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Australia and the PRC on 25 January 1995. The regulations are reviewed every two years to ensure that the return of such people to the PRC is still appropriate.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 051/2000, 15 May 2000

2000

Following a series of mass escapes from detention centres in Woomera, Curtin and Port Hedland, a high level government task force is established to review security measures at all immigration centres holding detainees. The task force is headed by Secretary of DIMA, Bill Farmer, and includes secretaries of the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Defence, Attorney-General's and Finance and Administration.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 062/2000, 13 June 2000

2000

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs releases three video productions for distribution in people smuggling 'source and transit countries'. The videos contain messages from victims of people smugglers who warn others not to be duped.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 063/2000, 15 June 2000

2000

Penalties on airlines that bring passengers to Australia without proper documentation are increased from $3000 to $5000. DIMA continues to encourage airlines to link their passenger processing systems to those of the Department so that a passenger's status can be confirmed during the check-in.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 066/2000, 21 June 2000

2000

Special long-term temporary visas are created for a small group of remaining Kosovars who are undergoing treatment for trauma. The visas provide for three years' temporary stay in order to receive ongoing medical treatment.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 069/2000, 28 June 2000

2000

In July, Minister Ruddock visits Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and France for discussions on people smuggling and to develop international cooperation against it.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 075/2000, 9 July 2000

2000

The Migration (non-Humanitarian) Program for 19992000 delivers 70 200 visas. A total of 35 330 are in the Skill Stream, which is the highest level since 19911992, and 32 000 in the Family Stream. Another 2850 are in the Special Eligibility stream.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 077/2000, 27 July 2000

2000

Funding worth $22.8 million over three years under the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs' Community Settlement Services Scheme is announced to help community and service organisations in the provision of settlement services to migrants, refugees and humanitarian entrants.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 085/2000, 17 August 2000

2000

On 29 August, Minister Ruddock indicates that he will lead Australia's 'intensified efforts in working with other countries and United Nations officials to reform the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and its Executive Committee'. The Australian Government seeks reforms to the UNHCR that will make it more effective in 'meeting the challenges of providing protection to those most in need, while combating people smuggling'. Ruddock says 'We need to arrest the trend which has led to some pressure groups and organisations seeking to extend the scope of the Convention [1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees] in ways which countries did not envisage, when they signed'.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 088/2000, 29 August 2000

2000

Cooperation between Australia and Vietnam against people smuggling and illegal immigration is strengthened by a new agreement. Special attention is to be paid to those responsible for the importation, fabrication or selling of fraudulent travel documents and to the sharing of intelligence about people smugglers' methods of operation and routes.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 095/2000, 14 September 2000

2000

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs publishes Refugee and humanitarian issues - Australia's response, a booklet explaining Australia's refugee and humanitarian policies in terms of the global context. The booklet is launched during Refugee Week.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 103/2000, 12 October 2000

2000

After being 'appraised of further claims, of an individual character', Minister Ruddock allows a group of Kosovars being held at Port Hedland to apply for bridging visas which will release them from detention.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 110/2000, 31 October 2000

2000

A significant increase in settler arrivals of nearly 10 per cent is recorded for 19992000. Of the total of 92 272 settler arrivals, 52 377 (62 per cent of the total) are in the Skill Stream.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 113/2000, 8 November 2000

2000

On 22 November, Minister Ruddock announces that an Inquiry will be held into allegations of child abuse at the Woomera Immigration Reception and Processing Centre. The Inquiry is chaired by Mr. Philip Flood AO and looks into the processes in place for dealing with allegations or instances of child abuse in detention centres. The role of both the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and the company that manages the Woomera centre, Australian Correctional Management, is also examined.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 118/2000, 22 November 2000

2000

Nineteen people who are unlawfully in Australia are returned to China from Port Hedland detention centre. Two arrived without authorisation by boat in October and seventeen overstayed their visas. A total of 269 people have been returned to the People's Republic of China since July.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 122/2000, 29 November 2000

2000

On 13 December, Minister Ruddock issues a Media Release concerning reports that two boats carrying up to 163 seeking unlawful entry into Australia might have sunk en route to Ashmore Islands. He says the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has been asked to locate any maritime reports of the incident and that Coastwatch has been informed. Due to a cyclone, the weather conditions in the area are 'atrocious'. Ruddock describes people smuggling as a 'heinous trade in human misery'. (In early January 2001, the people on the boats are accounted for and found not to have drowned but mostly to have arrived unlawfully in late December.)

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 132/2000, 13 December 2000 and MPS 134/2000, 14 December 2000

2000

The South Australian Family and Youth Services (FAYS), which has been independently investigating allegations of sexual abuse of a 12 year old boy at Woomera detention centre, issues its findings. FAYS concludes that there is no evidence to substantiate allegations of abuse against the boy. The Flood Inquiry, established by the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, is to continue with its examination of the mechanisms and processes for reporting allegations of this nature within Australia's detention centres.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 137/2000, 18 December 2000

2001

Two boatloads of people believed to have drowned en route to the Ashmore Islands in December are accounted for. The boats experienced mechanical difficulties in rough seas and returned to Indonesia for repairs, before attempting the journey again. Most of the original group arrive unlawfully in Australia in late December.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS un-numbered, 3 January 2001

2001

In the 2000 calendar year, 51 boats carrying 2939 passengers arrive unlawfully in Australia. In 1999 the number is 3722 people on 86 boats. However, in the last two weeks of December 2000, 12 boats arrive with about 800 people.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS un-numbered, 3 January 2001

2001

About 300 detainees at Curtin Immigration Reception and Processing Centre attack staff with makeshift weapons during a melee sparked by cultural differences between Iranians and Afghans. A detainee is hospitalised with stab wounds. Marion Le, of the Independent Council for Refugee Advocacy, says it is bad management to put different religious sects with a history of war in their own countries into custody together.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, DPS 09/2001, 30 January 2001

M. Barton, 'New detention battle centre', West Australian, 31 January 2001

2001

Minister Ruddock meets with senior government Ministers in Iran in January, a year after his first meeting with them. Iran is host to two million people from Iraq and Afghanistan. Ruddock briefs the Iranian Ministers on developments in Australia's efforts to combat people smuggling and both governments agree to continue cooperation on the matter. The Minister also meets with senior officials in Jordan, Syria and Turkey and secures further agreement in such areas as exchange of intelligence, enhanced technical cooperation and action in multilateral agencies like the UNHCR.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS un-numbered, 8 January 2001 and MPS 006/2001, 20 January 2001

2001

On 4 February, Minister Ruddock responds to criticisms that the Government has not addressed processing times for unlawful arrivals. He says:

Since mid-1999, the number of trained staff allocated to processing asylum claims has more than doubled. While 80 per cent of protection claims made by boat arrivals in late 1999 received a decision within seven and a half months, this had reduced to less than 15 weeks for applications made in late 2000. Where a case has gone to the Refugee Review Tribunal, processing times have consistently averaged less than 70 days.

In calendar year 2000, 3770 people are released from detention on Temporary Protection Visas and, of the 1118 detainees waiting for a decision, more than 800 have been in detention for less than six weeks. The Minister says that a further 367 detainees 'have been found not to be refugees and are pursuing review and litigation opportunities. The remaining 888 detainees are awaiting removal, having either not made asylum claims or having had claims exhaustively examined and rejected'.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 011/2001, 4 February 2001

2001

Detainees at Woomera and Curtin are examined for typhoid, following the detection of a number of cases. Eighteen former detainees are examined by health authorities in Victoria but reveal no symptoms.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 010/2001, 2 February 2001

2001

Minister Ruddock accuses the Labor State Governments of Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland of 'funding incentives which will be used by people smugglers to encourage unlawful arrivals to Australia'. The claim is prompted by State government support to holders of Temporary Protection Visas. The Minister says the Bracks' Labor Government in Victoria provides $100 000 to TPV holders, in addition to housing and other services totalling $625 000.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 13/2001, 14 February 2001

2001

Minister Ruddock estimates that it costs around $300 million a year to detain and process unlawful arrivals.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 016/2001, 15 February 2001

2001

On 21 February, Minister Ruddock announces that, on the basis of new information provided to him, a Kosovar family illegally (i.e. they overstayed their safe haven visa) in Australia will be allowed to apply for visas to remain here permanently. In the meantime, the family is granted a bridging visa. The family came to Australia as part of Operation Safe Haven.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 018/2001, 21 February 2001

2001

On 27 February, Minister Ruddock announces a plan to trial alternative detention arrangements for women and children at Woomera. (Administrative measures required for the trial's commencement are announced on 25 May, and the trial begins on 7 August.)

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 021/2001, 27 February 2001

2001

An Immigration Detention Advisory Group is established to advise the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs on the appropriateness and adequacy of services, accommodation and facilities at immigration detention centres around Australia. The 8-person group is chaired by former Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, John Hodges, and includes former Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, Gerry Hand.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 022/2001, 27 February 2001

2001

The Flood Report - Inquiry into Immigration Detention Procedures - is tabled in Parliament on 27 February. The report into procedures for dealing with allegations of child abuse in detention centres examines 35 cases and concludes that, in all but one case, allegations or incidents were handled in accord with relevant legislation and departmental procedures.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 023/2001, 27 February 2001

2001

Fourteen peopleconsisting of seven men, two women and five children from the Middle East and Africaescape from Villawood Immigration Detention Centre on 26 March by cutting through fencing. The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs commissions an independent review of the escape.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 034/2001, 27 March 2001

2001

The Government rejects the findings of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) in relation to two former asylum seekers. HREOC finds that the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs has breached the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and recommends compensation of $20 000 and $15 000 to each individual. Minister Ruddock declines to make the payment to the individuals, on the grounds that his Department did not breach the ICCPR. The Minister argues that HREOC has mistakenly equated 'arrival separation' in immigration detention centres with 'incommunicado detention'. The Minister says:

In separation detention, detainees are able to communicate with relatives overseas in particular, to let them know they have arrived safely. Detainees are also free to interact with others at the same stage of processing However, they are not able to communicate initially with those at a more advanced stage of processing in order to protect the integrity of the protection visa process.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 035/2001, 28 March 2001

2001

Shahraz Kiane (Kayani) sets fire to himself outside of Parliament House, Canberra, in protest at the Government's failure to allow his family to join him from Pakistan. He sought asylum in Australia in 1996 and was granted a protection visa, and became a permanent resident. He took out Australian citizenship in 1999. (His name is recorded by mistake as Kiane, and he is referred to by that spelling from then on.) His application to bring out his family was refused (mainly because his daughter is disabled and in need of expensive medical treatment) but, following an inquiry by the Ombudsman, the family was invited toward the end of 2000 to submit a new application. The new application is being considered at the time of the man's protest. Mr. Kayani dies from his injuries in late May.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 038/2001, 2 April 2001 and MPS 039/2001, 3 April 2001

C. Kremmer, 'Long-distance agony over father's desperate protest, SMH, 5 April 2001

2001

On 5 April, Minister Ruddock issues a Media Release jointly with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, and the Attorney-General, Daryl Williams, indicating measures Australia will take to reform the United Nations Treaty Committee system. Key initiatives are that Australia will host a Ministerial meeting at the time of the UN General Assembly to 'stimulate political momentum for reform' and Australia will also host a series of workshops to look at the practicalities of reform. The Ministers and Attorney-General also call for additional resources for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights from the core UN budget. Australia seeks election to the Commission on Human Rights for the period 20032005.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 042/2001, 5 April 2001

2001

The United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia accepts the Government's long-standing invitation (since 1998) to visit Australia. Professor Maurice Glele-Ahanhanzo visits several cities and towns between 22 April and 10 May.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 043/2001, 12 April 2001

Joint Statement with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer.

2001

The planned Migration (non-Humanitarian) Program for 20012002 has 85 000 places, with 45 500 (54 per cent) in the Skill Stream, 37 900 in the Family Stream and 1600 in the Special Eligibility Stream. Minister Ruddock says that the greater emphasis on skills over the past five years has begun to 'deliver clear economic and budgetary benefits'.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 045/2001, 27 April 2001

2001

In announcing the planned Humanitarian Program for 20012002, Minister Ruddock says that 'Every time someone comes here illegally seeking asylum is granted refugee status it means that someone in greater need overseas who does not have the money to pay a people smuggler misses out'. He says the continued unauthorised arrivals threaten 'Australia's ability to help those most in need'. The Humanitarian Program is maintained at 12 000 which, the Minister says, makes Australia one of the most generous per capita refugee and humanitarian resettlement countries in the world. He releases comparative figures showing that in 2000, Australia resettled 41 people per 100 000 of its population, making it second only to Canada, which resettled 45 per 100 000. Ruddock also points out that most other developed nations, including the United Kingdom and Germany, do not have a resettlement program. The Humanitarian Program continues to give priority to Africa, the Middle East and South-West Asia and the former Yugoslavia.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 046/2001, 27 April 2001

2001

Within the 20012002 Humanitarian Program, the Government puts aside a notional 6300 places to meet possible onshore requirements. As a result, there is limited scope to cater for offshore demand under the Special Humanitarian Program. The 6300 notional places are created to cope with a possible increase in unauthorised boat arrivals and claims from people who arrive lawfully by air.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 046/2001, 27 April 2001

2001

More than 40 000 people are extending their stay in Australia through the use of bridging visas and litigation. Immigration litigation reaches 'totally unacceptable levels', according to Minister Ruddock, with 1437 applications to the Courts and Administrative Appeals Tribunal in the first three-quarters of 2001, compared with 1589 in the whole of 19992000 and less than a thousand five years earlier.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 048/2001, 29 April 2001

2001

In 19992000, a total of 14 369 people were located who had either overstayed or breached their visa conditions. This is an increase on the 19981999 figure of 13 284. Approximately 58 000 people are estimated to be living in Australia illegally.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 049/2001, 30 April 2001

2001

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs announces that the provision of immigration detention services is to go to tender. The services have currently been supplied under contract by Australasian Correctional Services since February 1998.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, DPS 16/2001, 25 May 2001

2001

On 11 May, a riot occurs at Port Hedland detention centre, sparked by attempts to move six Iranian detainees. Twenty-two detainees are later charged over their involvement.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, DPS 18A/2001, 26 May 2001

'Tear gas used on detainees', The West Australian, 12 May 2001

2001

Minister Ruddock responds to criticism levelled by Amnesty International at Australia's treatment of asylum seekers. He says that the Guidelines of the UNHCR allow for detention for the purposes of identification and assessment of claims and that the UN Human Rights Committee has confirmed that Australia's detention policy does not breach the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 068/2001, 31 May 2001

2001

On 2 June, tear gas is deployed against detainees at Curtin detention centre when about 200 detainees burn down a small building and violently damage other property. The violence is sparked after a group of more than 50 are told they have no legal basis to remain and are to be removed from Australia.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, DPS 19/2001, 2 June 2001

2001

$5.3 million is made available by the Australian Government for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. In a joint Media Release with Alexander Downer, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Minister Ruddock says the aid is 'part of an integrated approach focusing on activities to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, bolster protection for Afghan refugees in the region and reduce the potential for irregular migration and people smuggling'. Australia's assistance to Afghanistan and Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan is $12 million in 20002001.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 071/2001, 7 June 2001

2001

On 9 June, seven detainees abscond from Woomera detention centre by burrowing under a perimeter fence.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, DPS 20/2001, 10 June 2001

2001

Minister Ruddock visits Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam for discussions with Ministers and officials on continuing regional cooperation on the illegal movement of people. Thailand remains a significant transit point for people travelling onto Indonesia and Australia but there has been a drop in the number of people transiting Thailand for Australia as a result of cooperation between the two countries in identifying fraudulent documentation. In Hanoi, the Minister signs a Memorandum of Understanding relating to the return to Vietnam of Vietnamese nationals in Australia who have committed crimes in Australia.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 078/2001, 18 June 2001

2001

Australia hosts a workshop in Geneva to discuss ways of improving the process of reporting to the six United Nations' human rights' treaty committees. The workshop, which is part of the diplomatic initiative of the Australian Government announced on 5 April, brings together for the first time the key participants in the UN treaty committee system. Weaknesses in the existing UN human rights' treaty committees are revealed in a study undertaken by Canadian academic, Professor Anne Bayefsky. The report found that there are 1200 overdue reportsyet only 1600 have been considered by the committees over the past 30 years. The great majority of UN members have overdue reports. The Australian-led workshop seeks to find ways to 'reduce duplication, produce shorter, thematic reports and more sensible timeframes'.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 79/2001, 19 June 2001

Joint Statement with Attorney-General Daryl Williams and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Alexander Downer.

2001

World Refugee Day is inaugurated by the UNHCR on 20 June. Minister Ruddock marks the day by pointing to Australia's 'proud tradition of helping those most in need'. In the past 50 years, Australia has resettled about 600 000 refugees and displaced people. The Minister uses the occasion to reiterate his opposition to people smuggling:

Every time someone who has the resources to pay people smugglers arrives unlawfully in Australia and is granted refugee status, a place is denied to someone else languishing in the most undesirable circumstances.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 080/2001, 20 June 2001

2001

On 21 June, Minister Ruddock circulates a summary of detention facilities and services to all Members of Parliament and Senators. The 14-page document is designed to counter what he regards as 'misinformed comment'.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 081/2001, 21 June 2001

2001

The Migration Legislation Amendment (Immigration Detainees) Act 2001 is passed by Parliament on 28 June. Prompted by violent disturbances at Woomera, Curtin and Port Hedland Immigration Reception and Processing Centres, it increases levels of security and safety for detainees and staff in detention centres. Specifically, the Act makes it an offence for a detainee to manufacture, possess, use or distribute a weapon, increases the penalty for escape, and introduces additional security measures for visitors.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 083/2001, 29 June 2001

2001

In 20002001, a total of 14 238 unlawful non-citizens are located, representing a 4.8 per cent increase on the previous year. The figure includes people lawfully in Australia who are in breach of their visa conditions. At 30 June 2001, there are an estimated 60 103 people unlawfully in Australia.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, DPS 60/2001, 20 December 2001

2001

The Law Council of Australia calls on the Federal Government to reinstate the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to hear matters 'clogging' the High Court's workload. The Council says there has been a six-fold increase in migration cases over the past two years. Minister Ruddock responds by urging the Law Counciland the Oppositionto support Bills before the Senate that aim to make Tribunal decisions conclusive and reduce class actions in migration matters. He says the Council's claim of a six-fold increase is erroneous: the number of migration matters coming before the High Court 'had dropped by 27 per cent from the 19992000 to 20002001 financial years'.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 89/2001, 3 July 2001

R. Campbell, 'High Court's workload must be lightened', Canberra Times, 18 July 2001

2001

Fewer unauthorised boats arrive in Australia during the year 20002001. A total of 54 boats arrive in 20002001 compared with 74 in 19992000. The number of passengers also drops slightly, from 4175 in 19992000 to 4141 in 20002001. Minister Ruddock attributes the declining numbers to the disruption of people smuggling activities as a result of cooperation with countries in the Middle East and Asia, as well as Australia's introduction of higher penalties on people smugglers.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 087/2001, 3 July 2001

2001

On 4 July, Cambodian authorities intercept a boat preparing to unlawfully transport 242 Middle Eastern people to Australia. A large number of the passengers tell Cambodian authorities that on arrival in Australia they were going to claim to be fleeing Afghanistan. However, they are found not to be Afghan citizens, despite carrying Afghan passports. More than half of the group indicate they lived in Pakistan, Iran and the Gulf States. All but four have return tickets to Pakistan or the United Arab Emirates, which means they have a right of re-entry to those countries. Minister Ruddock reiterates his view that it is 'deeply regrettable that Australia's ability to take the most urgent casesthose languishing in refugee campswas under threat by people who bypassed the normal resettlement processes offshore by paying criminals to bring them to Australia'.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 092/2001, 6 July 2001 and MPS 112/2001, 7 August 2001

2001

Thailand's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Surakiart Sathirathi, and Minister Ruddock sign an agreement to fight people smuggling and illegal immigration.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 091/2001, 6 July 2001

2001

Minister Ruddock presents an 'update' to a Senate Estimates Committee on progress in implementing the Flood Report's recommendations. Memoranda of Understanding are being negotiated with health, welfare and police departments at the state level to define their role within the detention environment. (A Memorandum of Understanding with the South Australian Department of Human Services is signed early in December.) The Minister says that many of Flood's recommendations were already being undertaken at the time of the report. He points to progress in such areas as reducing processing times, improving the physical environment at Woomera, the alternative detention arrangements for women and children, allocation of additional long-term Australian Correctional Management (ACM) staff at Woomera, external evaluation of ACM training program for new officers and a review of Immigration Detention Standards.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 093/2001, 9 July 2001 and MPS 190/2001, 6 December 2001

2001

On 19 July, 23 detainees escape from Villawood detention centre. The group includes four Algerians, five Somalis, one Pakistani, three Indians, one Iranian, eight Afghanis and one Iraqi. The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs launches an investigation.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, DPS 27/2001, 19 July 2001

2001

The Migration (non-Humanitarian) Program for 20002001 results in 80 610 visas (including 4450 grants in the Skill Stream contingency reserve). About 55 per cent of the Program outcome is in the Skill Stream, in keeping with the Government's commitment to a program that will deliver economic, budgetary and employment benefits. A total of 33 470 grants are made in the Family Stream and there are 2420 in the Special Eligibility Stream.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 097/2001, 20 July 2001

2001

A group of 23 detainees escape from Villawood detention centre. It is the second escape within a week: 23 others escaped on 19 July. The group includes three Kuwaitis, one Algerian, eight PRC nationals, eight Vietnamese, one south Korean, one Indonesian and one Macedonian. The majority of the group are not asylum seekers.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, DPS 28/2001, 22 July 2001

2001

On 26 May, a man dies at Villawood detention centre, as a result of 'a self-harm attempt'. The man's visa was cancelled on arrival at Sydney International Airport the day before and he was transferred to Villawood. The man travelled to Australia on a South African passport.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, DPS 19/2001, 26 July 2001

2001

A preliminary report into the July escapes from Villawood detention centre results in a tightening of security, including a strengthening of perimeter security.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 106/2001, 31 July 2001

2001

The alternative detention project for women and children at Woomera commences on 7 August. The project involves a maximum of 25 volunteers and is to be closely evaluated during its proposed duration of three to six months. Participants are still in detention but live in a cluster of four three-bedroom houses leased from the Department of Defence. The women and children selected for the project must have a family member at the Woomera Immigration Reception and Processing Centre, have an application for asylum under consideration and pose no character or management risks.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 110/2001, 6 August 2001

2001

The 20002001 Humanitarian Program resettles 7992 people from offshore and 5741 onshore (5577 places for people granted temporary or permanent protection visas and 164 temporary humanitarian stay visas). Of the protection visas granted in Australia, 4452 go to people who arrived in Australia without proper authority. These are Temporary Protection Visas. The priority regions for the offshore intake remain Africa, the Middle East and the former Yugoslavia. In 20002001, 43 per cent of offshore grants are made to Europeans, mainly from the regions of the former Yugoslavia, 25 per cent to Africans and 20 per cent to people from the Middle East.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 111/2001, 7 August 2001

2001

On 19 August, Minister Ruddock and the Hon Bruce Scott MP, the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, issue a joint statement regarding the arrival of an unauthorised boat which they do not identify by name. The joint media statement says: 'A boat carrying 348 men, women and children, believed to be of Middle Eastern origin, arrived on Christmas Island, 2650 kilometres north-west of Perth, on Thursday [16 August]'. It continues: 'Two Royal Australian Air Force C130 Hercules aircraft are bound for Christmas Island to assist Immigration authorities ease the strain on the island's resources'. A 'shuttle service' of the Hercules aircraft is planned to relocate more than 230 of the unlawful arrivals to Port Hedland.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 121/2001, 19 August 2001

2001

The Commonwealth Ombudsman issues a report into the death of Shahraz Kiane (Kayani), who died of self-inflicted burns in a protest outside Parliament House in April, and criticises the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs for taking so long (five years) to make a final decision as to whether his family would be permitted to join him in Australia. The Ombudsman says, 'The history of this case is one of administrative ineptitude and of broken promises'. Minister Ruddock describes the report as 'unbalanced' and says that two key issues in the case relate to 'whether Mr. Kiane could have returned safely to live in Pakistan with his spouse and three children' and 'what weight could be given to the claims of Mr. Kiane and his extended family that they would bear the health and social welfare costs involved'. (The latter point is in reference to Mr. Kiane's 10-year old disabled daughter, Annum. Mr. Ruddock says he had to take into account 'potential costs of $750 000'.)

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 122/2001, 22 August 2001

A. Clennell, 'Ombudsman blasts 'inept' department over migrant's suicide', SMH, 23 August 2001

2001

The number of immigration appeals to the courts and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal reaches record levels in 20002001, with 2003 new appeals recorded (an increase of 26 per cent over the previous year when 1590 were recorded). There is an increase of almost 40 per cent in the number of 'first instance' appeals to the Federal Court and a 19 per cent increase in appeals to the Full Federal Court. Minister Ruddock maintains that people are using the courts to delay their departure. He says that 'more than 65 per cent of appeals to the Federal Court seek review of decisions of the Refugee Review Tribunal, but less than 1 per cent of those commencing the judicial process are likely to obtain a visa and be permitted to remain in Australia'.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 126/2001, 26 August 2001

2001

The Community Settlement Services Scheme (CSSS) provides $18.4 million to community organisations over three years. The CSSS supports groups that help refugees and migrants settle into Australian society, such as the provision of information on employment, housing and education. The Scheme complements the Government's network of services available to refugees and migrants. The overall funding for the settlement services network in 2001 is $24.6 million.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 127/2001, 27 August 2001

2001

On 29 August, Prime Minister John Howard tables the Border Protection Bill 2001. The Bill seeks to put beyond doubt the domestic legal basis for actions taken in relation to foreign ships within the territorial sea of Australia, and is prompted by the unauthorised arrival of the MV Tampa, carrying 433 people, north-west of Christmas Island, on 26 August. The Bill seeks to permit an 'officer' to direct the master of a ship within the territorial sea to take it outside the territorial sea. It also seeks to make any actions taken within it non-reviewable in any Australian court. The Bill is rejected in the Senate. The Tampa is the subject of considerable public controversy and is interdicted by Special Air Service members when it proceeds into territorial waters surrounding Christmas Island on the 29th. Action taken by the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties (VCCL) to have the Tampa passengers admitted to mainland Australia succeeds in the Federal Court on 11 September (i.e. Justice North finds that the 'rescuees' had been unlawfully detained on the Tampa and orders that they be brought to the mainland). However, an appeal by Minister Ruddock to the Full Bench of the Federal Court finds that the Commonwealth has sufficient executive power to control the movement of the Tampa and that the rescuees had not been detained for the purposes of the VCCL's habeas corpus writ.

N. Hancock, 'Border Protection (Validation and Enforcement Powers) Bill 2001', Bills Digest No. 62, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, pp. 34

2001

The Migration Legislation Amendment (Immigration Detainees) Bill (No.2 2001 is passed by Federal Parliament on 29 August. The legislation permits the use of metal detector scans on detainees and provides powers to strip search.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 129/2001, 29 August 2001

2001

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley and the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, release the Labor Party's international strategy to combat people smuggling. Describing people smuggling as 'a critical international challenge for Australia', the statement says 'We must not allow our immigration policy to be subverted by unchecked illegal arrivals'. Beazley reiterates his party's plan to establish an Australian Coast Guard and his commitment to improving Australia's relationship with Indonesia. He says, 'International and regional cooperation is vital'. Minister Ruddock comments on the Labor policy saying that it mainly recycles old policies but of the positive 'initiatives' 'all have already been implemented by the Government, or are in the process of being implemented'.

Australian Labor Party, Media Statement, Labor's international strategy to combat people smuggling 6 September 2001

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 132/2001, 7 September 2001

2001

On 6 September, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs launches a Background paper on unauthorised arrivals strategy. It provides an overview of policy development during the 1990s, emphasising the Government's three-pronged approach based on the minimisation of outflows from countries of origin and from countries of first asylum, practical cooperation with other countries to disrupt people smugglers and intercept their clients, and the development of 'reception arrangements' for unauthorised arrivals, early determination of their status and the prompt removal of those not in need of protection.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 131/2001, 6 September 2001

2001

Following the 11 September terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York and on the Pentagon in Washington DC, Minister Ruddock urges the Australian community to unite in the face of 'any challenge posed to its harmonious society'. He says, 'Events such as the Gulf War and conflicts in the Balkans have shown that those who are on different sides of a conflict in other parts of the world can live in peace in the same street in Australia'. He condemns any attacks on, or vilification of, Australian Muslim and Arabic communities as 'un-Australian'. Later in the month, more than $1.5 million in grants for Living in Harmony projects is announced and includes several projects that work with Muslim communities and refugee and migrant support organisations to 'promote harmony and address misconceptions about Islamic culture'.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 155/2001, 12 September 2001 and MPS 168/2001, 28 September 2001

2001

As of 17 September, Cocos Island is included in the move to excise certain territories from the Australian migration zone. Prime Minister John Howard announces on 8 September that the Government would move to excise Christmas Island, Ashmore Reef and Cartier Reef from the zone. Action to bring the excisions into effect is contained in the Migration Legislation Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) Bill 2001. Removing the territories from the zone means that it is not possible to apply for a Protection Visa or Temporary Protection Visa while in those areas.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 160/2001, 17 September 2001

2001

A package of seven Bills designed by the Government to boost the fight against people smugglers is passed through the Senate. Minister Ruddock says the new legislation will increase penalties for people smugglers, introduce a new visa regime and strengthen deterrence measures for unauthorised arrivals. The seven Bills are: The Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) Bill 2001, The Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2001, The Border Protection (Validation and Enforcement Powers) Bill 2001, The Migration Legislation Amendment (Judicial Review) Bill 1998, The Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No 1) 2001, The Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No 5) 2001 and The Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No 6) 2001. The Border Protection (Validation and Enforcement Powers) Bill 2001 imposes minimum prison terms for people smugglers (five years for a first conviction and eight years for a second conviction) and puts beyond doubt the legality of actions of the Government taken in relation to the MV Tampa and provides additional statutory authority for future action in relation to vessels carrying unauthorised arrivals. The Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) Bill 2001 excises certain territories from Australia's migration zone, including Christmas Island, Ashmore and Cartier Islands and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, with a view to creating a separate visa application regime to unlawful arrivals at the excised places. Unauthorised arrivals to those territories cannot apply for a visa. The Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2001 allows for the detention of an unlawful non-citizen in an excised offshore place, for the transfer of an unlawful non-citizen from Australia to another country, and prevents such people from taking legal action against the Government in an Australian court. The Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No 6) 2001 allows adverse inferences to be drawn from an absence of documentation and also defines certain key terms used by the Federal Court and the Refugee Review Tribunal in determining refugee status. The Bill narrows the interpretation given to the definition of 'refugee' (in particular, the elements of 'persecution', 'membership of a particular social group', and 'particularly serious crime'. The Migration Legislation Amendment (Judicial Review) Bill 1998 limits the grounds for judicial review and prohibits class actions in migration litigation. The Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No 5) 2001 authorises disclosure of information relating to travel to and from the migration zone for migration control purposes by private organisations that provide travel related services. The aim is to avoid the restrictions of the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000. The Bills are passed.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 164/2001, 26 September 2001 and MPS 161/2001, 17 September 2001

Also: Various Bills Digests prepared by specialists in the Parliamentary Library's Law and Bills Digest Group: Nathan Hancock, Dy Spooner, Natasha Cica, Katrine Del Villar, Kirsty Magarey and Krysti Guest.

2001

New reception centres are required on Christmas Island for unauthorised arrivals, who are currently received in tents on the shores of Flying Fish Cove. The Federal Government erects demountable buildings to replace the tents and promises a new sports hall, for completion by mid-2002, for use as a reception centre for future unauthorised arrivals.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, MPS 162/2001, 23 September 2001

Joint Statement with Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Senator Ian Macdonald.

2001

On 16 October, as part of the Federal Election campaign, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Kim Beazley, issues a statement outlining the Australian Labor Party's policies on people smugglers and border protection. The policy promises to establish a Coast Guard that will 'be on the beat every day of the year' and to develop a comprehensive bilateral agreement with the Indonesian Government on people smuggling. Beazley claims credit for bringing about improvements to the Border Protection (Validation and Enforcement Powers) Bill 2001, which is passed into law in September. He says:

The new Bill contained specific provisions to authorise the action that was taken with respect to the Tampa, as called for by Labor. Rather than setting aside all other laws, the new Bill built on the existing well-established legal framework for the treatment of vessels The new Bill contained a specific provision that people could only be returned to a ship if it was safe to do so And the new Bill preserved the power of the High Court to review government action, as required by our Constitution.

K. Beazley, Leader of the Opposition, ALP News Statement, Combating people smugglers and strengthening Australia's border protection, 16 October 2001

2001

During the Federal Election campaign, Opposition Leader Kim Beazley says the Labor Party supports 'what John Howard's doing but we've got to have more than what John Howard's doing'. On people smugglers, he says: 'The people who are responsible for this horror are the criminals who organise the trade And we've supported every measure, in terms of dealing with the protection of our borders, against what these people are up toevery measure that Howard's put in place, but it's not enough'.

Kim Beazley, Doorstop interview with Martin Ferguson, Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Transport and Infrastructure, Regional Services and Population, Transcript, Gladstone, Queensland, 23 October 2001

2002

On 10 November, the Federal Election returns the Coalition with an increased majority. The Federal Government's actions against the Tampa at the end of August and the legislative package in September that became known as 'the Pacific Solution' are factors in the election campaign, though analysts differ as to the extent to which they influence the final outcome.

 

2001

Detainees at Woomera attempt to set alight three female ablutions but the fire is brought under control by centre staff with the assistance of some detainees. 'Acts of vandalism' have damaged other ablutions as well as recreation rooms, and a kindergarten. The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Australasian Correctional Management continue to liaise with the Detainee Representative Committee 'to convince them that these actions will not influence the outcomes of their applications for Protection Visas in Australia'.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Media Release, DPS 48/2001, 24 November 2001

2001

On 26 November, Indigenous Affairs is added to the Immigration and Multicultural Affairs' portfolio. Philip Ruddock is the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.

 

2001

Two buildingsa laundry and an ablution blockat Woomera detention centre are destroyed by fires deliberately lit by detainees.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Media Release, DPS 54/2001, 7 December 2001

2001

Minister Ruddock visits the United Kingdom and Spain for talks with Government representatives on the issue of border arrivals, asylum seekers, and other migration-related topics. He also attends the Ministerial Council of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva to mark the 50th anniversary of the Refugees Convention and for discussions on the future direction of the UNHCR.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Media Release, MPS 191/2001, 7 December 2001

2001

Thirteen buildings, including three new accommodation facilities, a mess and a computing facility, at Woomera detention centre are damaged or destroyed during the night of 17 December as part of 'a deliberate criminal campaign by detainees'. The fires are part of protests by detainees who chant the word 'visa' during their demonstrations. Detainees stop staff and firemen from extinguishing the fires by throwing rocks and furniture at them. This is the seventh fire-related incident at Woomera since 20 November. There are 949 detainees at Woomera. Nineteen are women and children housed in the Woomera Residential Housing Project.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Media Release, DPS 58/2001, 18 December 2001

2001

In light of recent violent protests at Woomera detention centre, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs points out that an Imam recently visited the centre at the request of the management and of the Department to consult with detainees about any problems. The response in all instances is that 'there were no issues with conditions'. The protests are all about visas, according to the Imam.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Media Release, DPS 58/2001, 18 December 2001

2001

Six officers at Woomera detention centre are injured during continuing arson and violence on the part of about 300 detainees. Tear gas and water cannon are used after the detainees breach an internal security fence. Fires lit by the detainees damage eight buildings, bringing to 21 the number damaged or destroyed in the past two days. The damages bill is around $2 million. A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs says, 'This deliberate criminal activity will not force the Government to expedite or influence the visa granting process. If those responsible for this criminal damage can be identified and prosecuted it will have a direct impact on any visa application'.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Media Release, DPS 59/2001, 19 December 2001

2001

Disturbances continue at Woomera detention centre and water cannon is again used. A total of 21 staff have been injured since the violent protests commenced on 17 December. However, many of the detainees are withdrawing from the protests, which are maintained by a small core group of around 45.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Media Release, DPS 61/2001, 20 December 2001

2001

In December, an Indonesian vessel carrying about 160 people suspected of attempting to illegally enter Australia is escorted back toward Indonesian waters, at a point north of the Ashmore Islands, by an Australian Navy vessel. It is the fourth vessel that the Navy has escorted back toward Indonesian waters.

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Media Release, MPS 193/2001, 21 December 2001

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  Commonwealth of Australia
Chronologies are written for Members of Parliament, being located on the Internet they can be read by members of the public, however some linked items are available to Members of Parliament only, due to copyright reasons.


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