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Bishop urges action on detention centres

The bishop whose diocese includes Woomera has said the allegations concerning the management of the town's detention centre have exposed the human tragedy of Australia's asylum policy.

Bishop Eugene Hurley suggested in a statement yesterday that the claims aired on Monday night's Four Corners investigation on ABC TV should be used as an opportunity to forge a new path for the future.

He said these latest claims highlight the unnecessary suffering and irreparable damage inflicted on both the detainees and the staff.

"It shows again that this policy makes prisoners of everyone," he said. "All Australians accept that we need to have control of our immigration, but I am convinced that most would question a policy of deterrence at any cost, particularly at such enormous human cost.

"These allegations, together with the experience over recent years of staff, visiting priests, mental health workers and other health professionals, have shown us the inhumanity of these centres.

"I am afraid that we will look back at this chapter in the history of our nation with the same sadness, shame and regret as the White Australia Policy."

Bishop Hurley said while Woomera has now been closed, people were still being detained in similar circumstances in the Baxter centre, also within his diocese.

Diocese of Port Pirie

Jesuit centre calls for independent inquiry into management of detention centres
Woomera management investigated (The Age)
Immigration Minister | Border Protection
ABC Four Corners: About Woomera

22 May 2003