Australia should ban the indefinite mandatory detention of asylum seekers, and pursue a policy of Community Placement for those at stage two of the application process.
Stage two indefinite mandatory detention should be banned in Australia. Enormous financial resources are being used to detain a vulnerable group that make up only 0.3 per cent of all immigration intake. As a signatory to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Australia has legal and humanitarian obligations to protect those fleeing persecution. The impact that indefinite mandatory detention has on the mental health of those seeking asylum is extremely harmful. A sensible alternative would be the use of Community Placements, allowing asylum seekers to live and function in the community whilst their application is being processed. This is more cost effective than detention, more humane and removes the harmful mental health effects of imprisonment.
Indefinite mandatory detention is the compulsory confinement of people, for unspecified periods of time, who are seeking refuge. Since 1992 Australia has had bipartisan support for laws that sanction the indefinite mandatory detention of asylum seekers in immigration centres within Australian territory and overseas. There are three procedural stages; an initial stage of detention, to determine the identity, health and security risk of those seeking asylum; stage two is the time taken to process applications and appeals (and is the longest stage of detention); the last stage is for those who have been unsuccessful in their applications and are awaiting removal from Australia (Brennan 2007, pp. 101-102). Community Placement programmes support asylum seekers within the community during stage two processing. Host families welcome refugees into their home and assist with everyday living. This essay will argue that detention at stage two of the asylum application...