ASRC welcomes Senator Lambie’s commitment to oppose phone ban

Media Release

2 October 2020

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has welcomed Senator Jacqui Lambie’s commitment to oppose a bill that would prohibit mobile phones from immigration detention centres.

By siding with Senator Stirling Griff, Senator Rex Patrick, Labor and the Greens, Senator Lambie has provided the numbers to defeat the government’s Migration Amendment bill and preserve a vital lifeline for people in immigration detention. 

As well as expanding authorised officers’ search and seizure powers, the bill seeks to extend the list of “prohibited items” to include mobile phones and internet-capable devices.

Community opposition has been overwhelming, with nearly 175,000 signing a joint National Justice Project, GetUp and ASRC petition calling on politicians to block Dutton’s latest push for unnecessary and harsh powers.

An overwhelming 132 of the 135 submissions to the Senate Inquiry were opposed to the bill. The Australian Medical Association, Law Council of Australia and human rights organisations, including the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and the National Justice Project, highlighted that Minister Dutton already has the power to seize phones with due cause via the police.

ASRC Kon Karapanagiotidis thanked the senators for opposing Minister Dutton’s latest attempt to distract from the government’s indefinite detention of refugees and people seeking asylum.

“Thank you to the senators that have listened to the community and committed to vote down this unnecessary and harmful bill,” Kon Karapanagiotidis said.

“We know cutting these people off from their family, community support, lawyers and medical assistance would worsen the trauma of indefinite detention, and strip one of the few tools to scrutinise what happens in these centres.

“This sends an important message that the Australians will not sit back and allow the government to expand the powers of Home Affairs to punish people living in immigration detention.”

For media comment:
 Alistair Perkins 0425 792 532

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