Should The Mandatory Detention Policy Be Allowed?

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The mandatory detention policy in Australia is a legal requirement to detain non-citizens without a valid visa. It was first introduced in 1992 by the Australian Labour Party led by Paul Keating, as a response to the number of boat arrivals seeking asylum in Australia from the aftermath of the Vietnam War. In 1976 to 1981, the first wave of 2000 asylum seekers landed in Australia, where they were sympathetically allowed entrance, followed by a quick grant of a refugee visa status as they were assumed to be ‘genuine refugees’. However, continuous boats arrived been 1989 and 1994 which caused concern within the Australian public as there were issues of increased unemployment (Phillips, 2000).
Although detention was still discretionary and not mandatory, an enactment of the Migration Legalisation Amendment (1989) introduced changes to the system of processing boat arrivals. In his speech, Gerry Hand (1992), the then Minister of Immigration stated that the new policy change is only intended to be an “interim measure…for a specific class of persons”. However, it was subsequently extended to all ‘unlawful’ non-citizens with the enactment of the Migration Reform Act (1992). The Act established a new system of distinguishing a ‘lawful’ and ‘unlawful’ citizen. The changes effectively introduced a policy of ‘administrative detention’ for all people entering Australia without a valid visa, or any others present in the country unlawfully (i.e. without a valid visa), while their

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