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Bishop says future Australians will regret asylum seeker incarcaration


Bishop says future Australians will regret asylum seeker incarcaration

Australia will look back on its policy of incarcerating asylum seekers at detention centres with as much "regret and sadness" as it views the White Australia Policy, according to Bishop Eugene Hurley of Port Pirie.

At the invitation of the Australian Catholic Bishops, Bishop Hurley spoke out publicly last month on the plight of Woomera detainees saying that such incarceration "made prisoners of us all".

"We have provided pastoral care (in the centre) for many years but the hunger strike demanded there be some fairly dramatic change and fairly quickly," he said. Bishop Hurley has called for an overhaul of Australia's immigration policy which needs an "injection of humanity".

He said shutting down the Woomera Detention Centre was peripheral to the main argument of changing immigration policy.

"The policy presently being followed makes prisoners of everybody and I think whether Woomera is closed down and we have another place is peripheral to the main argument otherwise we are just tinkering at the edges and making it a more or less difficult situation," he said.

SOURCE

Southern Cross

6 Mar 2002