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The Mobile Phone Ban bill in immigration detention centres

I believe you have the right to be heard by your politicians. That's why I want your advice on this vote.

What does the Government say about the bill?

Acting immigration Minister Alan Tudge said ABF does not currently have the power to confiscate items like mobile phones possessing child exploitation material, extremist content or drugs in immigration detention centres.

“This does not remove the mobile phones from every individual in the network,” he told parliament.

“I am disgusted with those opposite who would stand with those crooks – those disgraceful, disgusting individuals, rather stand for the protection of children and innocent people.”

Mr Tudge said the bill would instead provide “strengthened powers” to search for and seize items that put the safety and security of detention staff and detainees at risk.

He has argued this is needed because the concentration of detainees with a criminal history in detention has increased due to cancelling of visas under section 501 of the Migration Act.


What do refugee advocates say about the bill?

Refugee advocates, Amnesty International and the Law Council of Australia have all rejected the push as an overreach of power that could lead to human rights breaches against detainees.

But opponents are concerned its powers won't just apply to detainees with a criminal history but could also extend to other migrants being held in detention facilities.

They have also argued that state and territory authorities already have the power to confiscate illegal items the government says it wants stronger powers to remove.

Labor MP Peter Khalil accused the government’s push of being a “pathetic dog whistle” that threatened the human rights of detainees in immigration detention.

“The phones are a lifeline in detention,” he told the parliament.

"There is no justification for this bill and its sweeping powers and it is also a bill that has clearly impinges upon the human rights of detainees."


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