The Age reports that “Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has accused asylum seekers and refugees of making false abuse allegations and self-immolating in order to get to Australia. Speaking after more than 2000 incident reports of abuse and selfharm among asylum seekers and refugees in Australian immigration detention centres on Nauru were leaked to Guardian Australia, Mr Dutton sought to down play the information but said he would not tolerate any sexual abuse reports.”
Malcolm Turnbull shows how much compassion he and Peter Dutton are prepared to show towards asylum seekers
The Age editorial said: “The United Nations and numerous Australian and international human rights agencies are urging the government to adjust its refugee policy. This is a time for Australia to shine, not behave like a pariah. There have never been more displaced people, and it is well within the means of our nation, one of the world’s most prosperous, to increase its humanitarian intake. We not only have a duty so to do; it is in our interests. As many as nine in 10 of the relatively few people who have sought asylum are proved to be genuine refugees. Refugees make a positive contribution socially and economically. They are an asset to the nation, not a drain on the economy. Will none of our lawmakers show some enlightened leadership? What more evidence is needed that what is happening is wrong?”
Australians were rightly horrified at the conditions in Don Dale. And the government was to call a Royal Commission.
Yet there is no equal concern over the situation on Manus Island and Nauru where the appalling situation affects a far greater number of people. The argument that showing compassion towards those held in detention will encourage people smugglers is entirely fallacious.
There are two separate issues. The first is what we do with the people were held in detention. The second is how we keep our borders secure. Processing those in the detention centres will not affect border security which appears to be almost completely watertight.
It is a sad commentary on the state of national leadership that the Prime Minister is more concerned about a computer failure in the Australian Bureau of Statistics than he is about the plight of children an Australian detention centres.