SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BLAIR
SENATOR LOUISE PRATT
ASSISTANT SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND COMMMUNITIES
SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
CHAIR OF THE SENATE LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS REFERENCES COMMITTEE
A Senate Inquiry into allegations of harm, abuse and mistreatment of asylum seekers in offshore processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru has today made recommendations to the Turnbull Government.
Manus Island and Nauru were set up as regional transit processing facilities but have become places of indefinite detention because of the inaction of the Turnbull Government.
Labor initiated this Senate Inquiry because the Turnbull Government failed to act on serious allegations of harm, abuse and mistreatment of asylum seekers outlined in the Nauru Files.
The Chair’s report recommends the Turnbull Government work with the Nauruan Government to improve protection of children by introducing an independent children’s advocate, review medical transfer processes and commission an external investigation into allegations contractors downgraded incident reports.
During the Inquiry, immigration officials were forced to admit the Turnbull Government was not negotiating with any other countries to resettle refugees currently living on Manus Island and Nauru.
This leaves few options for those potentially hundreds of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru who may miss out on the opportunity to resettle in the United States.
Labor wants every refugee who is eligible to have the opportunity to apply to resettle in the United States, including those refugees from Manus Island and Nauru who are currently in Australia receiving medical treatment.
Refugees currently in Australia receiving medical treatment should not be forced to return to Manus Island or Nauru to apply for the US refugee resettlement deal.
There is still much work to be done by the Turnbull Government, including supporting families to pursue options to resettle together.
Labor has made clear our commitment to offshore processing, regional resettlement and boat turn backs, when safe to do so, because we know it saves lives.
We want refugees out of offshore processing centres and resettled into third countries, but while they are living in Australian funded offshore processing centres, Australia has an obligation to ensure they are not subjected to any harm or violence.
Labor is very disappointed by Turnbull Government Senators offhanded dismissal of the Chair’s report, conclusions and recommendations.
This Senate Inquiry has identified the issues and the Chair’s report has made sensible recommendations. The ball is now firmly in the Turnbull Government’s court.