Socialist launches campaign at detention centre protest

Ben Courtice (third from left) launches his campaign for the seat of Gellibrand outside the Maribyrnong detention centre.

Ben Courtice, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Gellibrand, launched his election campaign on July 31 outside the Maribyrnong Detention centre. Courtice told Green Left Weekly the Socialist Alliance calls for an immediate end to mandatory detention and off shore processing. It also supports an increase to the currently low refugee intake to a minimum of 20.000 per year .

“Nicola Roxon, our sitting member and health minister, takes little interest in the growing evidence of a direct link between immigration detentions and deteriorating mental health of asylum seekers”, said Courtice.

“We also know that many seriously unwell refugees are kept in detention until they attempt suicide; but it is hard for them to speak out because of the punitive atmosphere surrounding detention.

“Maribyrnong Detention Centre should be converted to a reception centre — similar to its origins; a centre that welcomes refugees, gives people a proper start to a new life and makes us proud to be Australians.”

Refugee rights supporters holding up “Honk for Refugee signs” got an enthusiastic response from passing motorists.