The Federal Leader of the Palmer United Party and Member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer, says he has yet to receive a response from Immigration Minister Scott Morrison after seeking his approval to visit the Christmas Island detention centre.
Mr Palmer said he wrote to Mr Morrison’s office almost two weeks ago requesting approval to visit Christmas Island and its detention facilities in late March or early April, 2014.
“I have received reports from my constituents that in asylum seeker detention centres in Australia, new born babies are separated from their mothers at birth and kept in separate detention areas,” Mr Palmer said.
“Additionally, children of school age in detention centres are not receiving any schooling which is in breach of state legislation. I am seeking confirmation of whether these reports are true.
“It’s very disappointing that there has been no response from Minister Morrison’s office on the request to visit the island and the detention facilities. I hope that will be rectified.”
Mr Palmer said he had always believed it was wrong to keep children behind bars and the birth last month of his daughter Lucy had renewed his commitment to help the children of asylum seekers.
“Whether they took this dangerous voyage with their parents, or were born in detention, every child deserves a safe and loving upbringing with a range of experiences, not just the inside of a cell or an exercise yard,” he said.
Last year, a delegation of Palmer United Party federal election candidates undertook a fact finding mission to Christmas Island.
Mr Palmer said he had made a New Year’s resolution to personally visit Christmas Island this year.
The Palmer United Party advocates allowing asylum seekers to fly to Australia and be quickly processed at airports.