31 Jul 2003

Australian democrat leader wants women and children taken to mainland australia

10:47 am on 31 July 2003

The leader of Australia's Democratic Party, Senator Andrew Bartlett, says the Federal Government knows what the asylum seekers on Nauru are going through, but choose to ignore it.

Senator Bartlett has just returned from Nauru where more than 400 asylum seekers including women and children are being kept in conditions he says are driving them to despair.

He says Australia should take full responsibility and take the separated families to the mainland.

"Even many of the people that we are supposedly protecting as refugees here in Australia are similarly being driven to despair. Particularly those that are being kept separated from their families, some of them on Nauru, some of them in other parts of the world, that they're not allowed to reunite with, and all of them of course on temporary visas where they know that their respite from persecution may be temporary and they may still be forced to return down the track."