Immigration Minister angered by Catholic claims on detention centre
Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock has described as extraordinary, the allegations of the Director of the Catholic Centacare agency that reporting of alleged sexual abuse at the Woomera detention centre was inhibited.
AAP reports that Mr Ruddock said he was disappointed at suggestions allegations of abuse would be seen as a deterrent to potential illegal immigrants.
"It's an extraordinary allegation and I'm surprised that it's made," Mr Ruddock told ABC radio. "I'm disappointed that comments are made that suggest that the public policy is about using abuse of children and marriage partners and women as a deterrent to unlawful arrival.
"And it's made without evidence ... they have absolutely no basis at all upon which the argument can be sustained."
His comments followed a report in The Australian newspaper yesterday in which Dale West, South Australian director of the Catholic Church's welfare arm, Centacare, alleged penalty clauses in the management contract with the Immigration Department inhibited the reporting of rape at the Woomera centre.
"I believe that there are penalty clauses of a financial nature which relate to performance based on outcomes that might include things like breakouts, things like unfavourable events that might be happening in a detention centre," Mr West told ABC radio.