Senator Jacqui Lambie Praised For Opposing Bill That Could Ban Phones In Immigration Detention
Senator Jacqui Lambie has been praised for her opposition to a bill that could ban mobile phones from immigration detention centres.
The Coalition is trying to get legislation through that would effectively make it impossible for refugees to access phones while they're waiting their applications to be processed.
Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge wants the Australian Border Force to have additional powers to confiscate mobile phones when officers are doing strip searches.
But Mr Tudge is going to face a massive uphill battle from the Tasmanian senator, who took a while to work out how she would approach the bill.
Writing on Twitter, Ms Lambie said: "I had so much feedback, and it took me ages to work through it, but here's what I'm doing on the immigration detention phone ban bill.
"I'm not comfortable banning the phones of people who aren't doing anything wrong with them. Most of the people in immigration detention came to Australia legally. They're stuck in detention because they don't have a visa anymore.
"Most of them are using their phones to text friends. They're using it to watch videos about cats or whatever. They're not using it to organise bloody riots. They're using it the same way I've been using mine. I'm not going to stop someone calling their dad on his birthday.
"To be fair, this bill doesn't ban all phones. It just gives the government the ability to do it.
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"They say they don't intend to use it that way. And I can trust that, and still reckon that, if you don't want to use the power to do it, don't ask for the power to do it. And that's what I'm voting on. That's what I'm opposing."
She says around 96 percent of her constituents believe she should vote against the bill and she's more than happy to represent those people.
Lambie holds a balance of power in parliament, meaning whichever way she decides to vote will have huge repercussions on whether a bill gets through.
Jacqui's stance on the issue has won her praise with refugee campaigners.
The National Justice Project Director and Principal Solicitor, George Newhouse, believes it's a massive show of support to people in immigration detention.
"The Senator's decision reflects the enormous and growing community support for the basic rights of people seeking asylum. More than 150,000 voices from across Australia called on the Senate to take action - and today we congratulate the senators for listening," he said.
"Mobile phones save lives every day. They are a legal, emotional, social, and cultural life-line without which the government could silence and punish people seeking asylum with impunity."
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says it already has enough powers to take away phones so this new legislation is not needed.
Featured Image Credit: Jacqui Lambie/Facebook
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