This is a statement on immigration detention and children, issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The statement was issued by the Secretary of the Department, Michael Pezzullo.
Later in the day, a further statement was issued, following criticism of the third paragraph’s statement that “suggestions that detention involves a ‘public numbing and indifference’ similar to that allegedly experienced in Nazi Germany” were offensive.
Both statements are shown below.
Statement from Michael Pezzullo, Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Immigration detention and children: separating fact from fiction
Consistent with the law of the land, and under direction of the government of the day, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection operates a policy of keeping children in detention only as a last resort, and releasing those children that might be in detention as soon as reasonably practicable.
This is a very contentious area of public policy and administration. Sometimes emotions rise and facts gets distorted. For the reputation of my Department and its officers, it is crucial that I set the record straight: the Department and its uniformed operational arm, the Australian Border Force, does not operate beyond the law, nor is it an immoral ‘rogue agency’.
Recent comparisons of immigration detention centres to ‘gulags’; suggestions that detention involves a “public numbing and indifference” similar to that allegedly experienced in Nazi Germany; and persistent suggestions that detention facilities are places of ‘torture’ are highly offensive, unwarranted and plainly wrong – and yet they continue to be made in some quarters.