Life on the land in Australia


WA minister ‘putting cows

before kids’

June 20, 2011 – 12:37PM

Human rights lawyers say a senior WA minister is more concerned about cattle subjected to a live export ban than the welfare of a 16-year-old Indonesian boy who has been held in Hakea prison alongside convicted adult male sex offenders.

The claim comes as the opposition accused Agriculture Minister Terry Redman of being a hypocrite and putting cattle before children on his visit to Indonesia by not meeting the parents of minors held in Australia on people-smuggling charges.

Lawyer Gerry Georgatos, convener of the Human Rights Alliance, said the 16-year-old Indonesian boy had been in prison for a year with men accused of murder and sex offences.

The boy is said to be working at Hakea Prison’s laundry alongside alleged sex offenders.

Mr Redman, who is also the state’s Corrective Service Minister, is in Indonesia to see first-hand the impact of the Australian government’s ban on live cattle exports to that country and meet government officials.

Opposition frontbencher John Hyde said the Minister should use the opportunity to meet with the parents of up to 20 Indonesian children in WA jails.

“Minister Redman is hypocritical to advocate on the federal issue of cattle exports but claims he won’t intervene for Indonesian children locked up in his jail because they were arrested by federal police,” Mr Hyde said.

“He’s putting cows ahead of kids.”

Mr Georgatos, convener of the Human Rights Alliance, met the 16-year-old boy in March and through talking with his family, said he was able to ascertain his age.

Mr Georgatos said he believed the boy graduated from junior high school in 2009, but he was waiting for a statement which would prove his age “beyond reasonable doubt”.

He criticised the Australian Federal Police, the Department of Immigration and WA Department of Corrective Service for not trying hard enough to ascertain the boy’s age.

“I can’t see why lawyers, legal authorities, AFP, immigration, did not pick up the goddamn phone and speak to his family,” Mr Georgatos said.

“Authorities could have ascertained one way or another beyond reasonable doubt he was born in 1995.”

In determining the ages of alleged people smugglers, the AFP uses an 80-year-old wrist-bone X-ray technique which has come under criticism in recent years.

Under the federal government’s policy, any alleged people smuggler found to be a child is sent back to their country without charge.

The WA Inspector of Custodial Services said the federal government needed to sign a prisoner transfer agreement with Indonesia to address the increased number of Indonesians in the state’s prisons.

AAP  Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

June 20th, 2011
Topic: Cattle, CHILDREN, REFUGEES DETAINEES Tags: , , , , ,

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