ACCESS event: Secrets Behind the Wire Fence – mandatory detention and mental health
Professor Patrick McGorry, University of Melbourne, Australian of the Year 2010
Monday, 20 September 2010 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
An ACCESS event open to all:
Asylum seekers and immigration remain contentious topics. A few weeks ago the controversial Curtin detention centre in remote Western Australia was reopened. Plans for its expansion have been reported. Curtin came under close scrutiny a decade ago after a series of disturbances and episodes of self-harming by detainees. Self-harming and suicide attempts were reported in other detention centres across the country.
Mandatory detention, first introduced by a Labor Government, saw Australia by 2001 as the only developed country to run such a system, and was criticised as a contravention of United Nations conventions to which Australia is a signatory. Successive governments have defended mandatory detention as preserving the sovereignty of national laws and protecting national security. None the less, many immigration and mental health specialists, as well as human rights advocates, argue against mandatory detention as a breach of human rights and for the trauma it can cause. A number of medical studies have indicated that there is a direct causal relationship between time spent in detention centres and deteriorating mental health as well as reported incidences of new mental health problems. Children are among those affected.
Indonesian detention centres have also been the subject of particular scrutiny. With poor facilities and no official obligation to observe UN conventions, these centres have also become breeding grounds for mental illness and desperation. Amid all this, as the federal election has shown, public opinion remains deeply divided as detention centres are reopened and bilateral agreements negotiated.
To discuss these issues, ACCESS is delighted to present Professor Patrick McGorry, Australian of the year 2010.
Prof. McGorry is a leading international researcher, clinician and advocate for the youth mental health reform agenda. He is executive director of Orygen Youth Health (OYH), a world-renowned mental health organisation for young people that has put Australia at the forefront of innovation in the prevention and treatment of mental illness. Prof. McGorry has brought the mental health effects of mandatory detention to the fore in this debate. He is a passionate critic of mandatory detention and is currently conducting research in the mental health of asylum seekers in detention
03 9654 7271
Tickets payable at the door :
- Students Free presentation on current student card
- All others $20