Detention

  • Behind the closed doors of immigration detention

    29th Jul 2021

    Australia’s harsh laws permitting the indefinite detention of people seeking asylum and refugees have recently been expanded to include persons who are owed protection obligations but have no visa pathways. Rachel Saravanamuthu discusses the increasing detainee numbers during COVID-19, excessive use of force by detention staff, the concerning use of detention records to support visa cancellations and refusals, and the situation for Medevac transferees.

  • Over 1,000 Australians with cognitive disability are detained indefinitely each year

    13th May 2021

    The indefinite detention of people with cognitive impairments and/or mental illness in our criminal justice system has been criticised for being arbitrary in nature and subjecting detainees to abuse and serious human rights violations.

    Eileen Baldry AO highlights the reforms needed to dismantle this shameful practice and provide more disability-focused support to those at risk.

  • The legacy of the asylum seeker phone ban

    19th Nov 2020

    The proposed Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2020, which would have banned refugees, asylum seekers and non-citizens who are held in immigration detention from having mobile phones, failed to pass the Senate by the narrowest of margins.

    Dr Sangeetha Pillai analyses the scope and impact of the proposed law and argues that it will have broad and long-lasting ramifications on conversations around detention search powers, access to legal representation, and government accountability. 

  • Comcare must act to enforce WHS laws in immigration detention

    15th Jul 2020

    Failure to enforce COVID-19 social distancing rules in immigration detention centres, including hotels, is a breach of workplace health and safety laws and Comcare must act immediately to enforce this duty of care, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • High Court Don Dale ruling: timely reminder that police & prison officers need to follow the law

    3rd Jun 2020

    Today’s High Court decision, which found that the tear-gassing of four teenagers in Darwin's Don Dale Youth Detention Centre was unlawful, holds the prison system to account for the inhumane treatment of the teenagers in their care.

  • COVID-19 in detention centres & prisons: A potential human rights catastrophe

    24th Mar 2020

    Proposed NSW legislation that will allow for the early release of some prisoners is welcome, and similar legislation should be introduced in all other states and territories as a matter of urgency, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • The re-opening of Christmas Island: Two steps back

    28th Mar 2019

    Following the Senate's passing of the Medevac Bill – which will provide clinical pathways for detainees requiring medical care and ensure that authorities are compelled to determine whether a patient may be transferred to Australia for treatment within 72 hours – the Australian government has announced its intention to re-open the detention centre on Christmas Island. 

    Kathryn Schmidt discusses the human rights implications of these political actions.

  • New sentencing laws in NSW

    6th Dec 2018

    Practical information for criminal lawyers and their clients.

  • Current legal struggles for people seeking asylum in Australia

    25th Oct 2018

    Dr Carolyn Graydon, Principal Solicitor and Manager of the Human Rights Law Program, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre presented this paper at the ALA National Conference on 19 October.

  • Imprisoning children – what is going wrong?

    25th Aug 2016

    'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view' - Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird may have very simply summarised how we should treat children who act out. In light of this, Zoe Le Quesne discusses what is going wrong in the youth justice system, and why it needs to change.

  • Untold Damage - workplace health and safety in immigration

    10th Jun 2016

    Abuse, mental illness and neglect of basic hygiene cause unnecessary and lasting health problems for detainees in immigration detention. They have even caused death. As Commonwealth workplaces, all people affected by immigration detention facilities are supposed to enjoy the protections found in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (the WHS Act), including detainees. However, an investigation by the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) reveals that this law is being regularly flouted, with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) regularly failing to meet its obligations.