April 17, 2013
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says she has been banned from visiting a group of Tamil and Burmese refugees who are on their tenth day of a hunger strike at the Broadmeadows detention centre in Melbourne.
Senator Hanson-Young says the Immigration Minister’s office told her yesterday that she would not be allowed to see the group.
The men have been granted refugee status, but are being detained indefinitely after being denied an ASIO security clearance.
Ms Hanson-Young says she was given no reason for her visit being cancelled, but was told it would “not be helpful” at this time.
“I said that I was flexible with the time, that I was happy to go in at another time,” she told ABC local radio.
“They said you will not be seeing these people.”
Senator Hanson-Young is asking the minister to reconsider.
“I hope that we can help these people move beyond this awful circumstance that they’re in,” she said.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she is not aware that the Senator has been banned.
“That would be an assessment made about security and people being worked up and all of that sort of stuff,” she said.
“I’m sure it would have been an assessment made with the welfare of asylum seekers first and foremost in people’s minds.”