Prison camps for homeless?
By Bill Mason
BRISBANE — Queensland's 1000 "feral street kids" should be rounded up and taken to bush work camps where they would be used to provide labour for community work schemes, according to the director-general of Correctional Services, Keith Hamburger.
The scheme, in which the children would be picked up by "the authorities ... some authority", would cause juvenile crime to plummet overnight, Hamburger said on July 23.
He blamed the so-called street kids for being "largely responsible for breaking and entering, bashing people in the Mall and other juvenile crime".
Lurline Cumerford, of the Australian Services Union, which represents youth workers, blasted the plan as dehumanising and "like something out of Nazi Germany".
She said rounding up the street kids and sending them to the bush would be a gross breach of civil liberties and would not help them.
Youth worker Fr Paul Costello, of Rosies Youth Mission, described Hamburger's use of the word "feral" to describe street kids as "an act of abuse".
Resistance Brisbane organiser Sean Healy slammed the Hamburger plan as "police-state tactics", and "yet another attempt to scapegoat young people for the evils of the system".
"Youth forced to live on the streets need housing and social support, not forced labour, to provide genuine assistance", Healy told Green Left Weekly.