A group incuding Catholic and Anglican church leaders has accused the Abbott government of 'State sanctioned child abuse' in the immigration detention system, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
The leaders from nine Christian denominations (including Vice Chair, CRA's Sr Suzette Clarke, and Peter Arndt, Executive Officer, Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of Brisbane) have also called for Immigration Miister, Scott Morrison, to step down from his position as guardian for all unaccompanied minors.
The group, the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, will release a report today that commends a raft of recommendations to the Abbott government to improve the wellbeing and treatment of children in onshore and offshore immigration detention centres.
The claims were rejected by Mr Morrison. 'Claims of state sanctioned child abuse are shocking and offensive and the Minister rejects these categorically,' a spokeswoman for Mr Morrison said.
'The Minister has not been sent the final report. It is hardly fair for him to respond to a report that he has not yet seen or been given the courtesy to review to provide a response from the government. As the Minister has previously stated wherever people have made claims that may have basis he will look to make improvements.'
The church leaders, including the Anglican Dean of Brisbane, the Rev. Peter Catt, say the church has learnt a painful lesson from decades of child abuse within their congregations and it should never have been ignored. Dean Catt said: ''We'll never again stand by and do nothing about child abuse.'