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Turnbull Announces Refugee Resettlement Deal With United States

The Turnbull government has announced a deal that will see the remaining refugees held in offshore processing centres offered resettlement in the United States.

Turnbull

Speaking at a press conference this morning with Immigration and Border Protection minister Peter Dutton, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the deal is a “one-off agreement” that will only be available to people currently in the off-shore centres. [Read more…]


Daniel Andrews Offers To Settle Nauru Refugees In Victoria

The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, has offered to settle and house the families who were brought to Australia but now face return to Nauru.

In a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today, Andrews said: “I write to inform you that Victoria will accept full responsibility for all of these children and their families including the provision of housing, health, education and welfare services.”

Andrews said the circumstances were “clearly exceptional” and “a political argument is of no benefit” to the families concerned. [Read more…]


High Court Rejects Refugee Challenge To Offshore Processing And Resettlement

The High Court has rejected an attempt to strike down Australia’s policy of offshore processing, detention and resettlement.

In essence, the High Court has found that the asylum seeker arrangements with Nauru are legal. Asylum-seekers now face deportation to Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

The court found that the Bangladeshi woman who brought the case had standing but rejected her substantive argument. [Read more…]


Statement From Nauru Justice Department On Sacking Of Magistrate

This is the media statement from the Nauru Department of Justice on the sacking and deportation of Peter Law, the Resident Magistrate and Registrar of the Supreme Court.

The statement alleges inappropriate behaviour, drunk and disorderly behaviour, interference in cases and dereliction of duty.

Law was sacked and deported from Nauru yesterday. He was due to hear a case involving asylum seekers charged over riots at the Australian detention centre in July last year. He has indicated he will sue the Nauru government over the allegations contained in the media release.

Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, also banned Geoffrey Eames, the Australian-based Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Eames attempted to prevent the deportation of Law, only to have his own visa cancelled. [Read more…]


No Boat Arrivals For Three Weeks Says Morrison

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, says there have been no boat arrivals for more than three weeks.

Morrison has abandoned his weekly media briefing in favour of releasing written statements. In today’s statement, he says: “It has been more than three weeks since the last group of illegal maritime arrivals were transferred to immigration authorities by Border Protection Command.”

Morrison acknowledged that January is usually a quieter period but claimed “the strong policies being implemented by the government mean that people smugglers are being denied the ability to ply their trade with any success”. He said boat arrivals numbered 419, 278 and 271 in the same period over the past three years.

A separate statement from the Customs and Border Protection Service says there are now 1259 people on Manus Island, 867 in Nauru and 2107 on Christmas Island.

Neither statement makes any mention of the towbacks reported by Indonesian and Australian media this week.

Media release from Scott Morrison, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.

No illegal boat arrivals for more than three weeks

Once again, there have been no persons transferred to Australian immigration authorities during the past reporting week under Operation Sovereign Borders, who arrived in Australia illegally by boat.

It has been more than three weeks since the last group of illegal maritime arrivals were transferred to immigration authorities by Border Protection Command. [Read more…]


Scathing UNHCR Report On Conditions On Nauru

The United Nations Refugee Agency has produced a scathing report on conditions at the Regional Processing Centre on Nauru.

The report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said “the current policies, conditions and operational approaches” on Nauru “do not comply with international standards”. [Read more…]


Rudd Announces Asylum Deal With Nauru

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced an asylum seeker arrangement with Nauru, similar to the PNG arrangement announced last month.

Speaking at a signing ceremony and press conference in Brisbane with the President of Nauru, Baron Waqa, and the Immigration Minister, Tony Burke, Rudd said the arrangement would allow for asylum seekers to be settled in Nauru.

Rudd

Australia will provide $29.9 million in aid to Nauru in 2013–14. [Read more…]


Scott Morrison Comments On Asylum Seeker Conditions On Nauru

The Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison, held a press conference today to comment on his visit to the Nauru detention facility.

Scott Morrison

Morrison outlined his observations of the conditions at Nauru. Of the attitudes of asylum seekers, he said: “The other issue that was raised by those I met with in the facility is the extraordinary inconsistency they find between what is happening to people who were on the same boats at the same time or even after, who are now in Australia on bridging visas in the community receiving welfare. That is something that distresses them and obviously adds greater complication and greater pressure to an already challenging environment. Again that is for the government to explain because it is their policies, their half-hearted policies and their half-hearted approach which has continued to see record arrivals occur. The Coalition never said Nauru on its own was the solution to this; it was one of a series of measures which the government continues to refuse to put in place and we continue to have this mess.” [Read more…]


Nauru Designated For Regional Processing

Nauru has been officially designated a regional processing country under the Migration Act.

The formal action to put in place the government’s about-turn on processing of asylum seekers took place today with the tabling of the legislative instrument in the House of Representatives by the Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

The Opposition maintained its position that Howard-era outcomes can only be achieved by the introduction of the full suite of Howard policies, including temporary protection visas and turning back the boats. Shadow minister Scott Morrison moved an amendment along these lines.

The Instrument of Designation is shown below.

  • Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announces the Nauru designation
  • Shadow Immigration minister Scott Morrison comments on the Nauru decision:

Statement released by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

Nauru designated for regional processing

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, has this morning signed the legislative instrument designating the Republic of Nauru as a regional processing country under the Migration Act.

‘I will today table the designation documents in Parliament. Subject to both houses passing a resolution approving the designation, the designation will allow for the transfer of irregular maritime arrivals who arrived after 13 August to Nauru,’ Mr Bowen said.

‘These documents outline the terms of agreement with the Nauruan Government and the fact I have now designated Nauru as a regional processing country.’

The Minister has determined that it is in the national interest to begin transferring people to Nauru as set out in the Statement of Reasons, including:

  • Nauru has given Australia the assurances around the principle of non-refoulement and the assessment of asylum claims in line with the Refugee Convention
  • Designating Nauru as a regional processing country will discourage irregular and dangerous maritime voyages and thereby reduce the risk of the loss of life at sea
  • The designation promotes the maintenance of a fair and orderly Refugee and Humanitarian Program that retains the confidence of the Australian people
  • Designating Nauru as a regional processing country promotes regional cooperation on irregular migration and people smuggling and its undesirable consequences; and
  • Arrangements already in place in Nauru and those that are proposed to be put in place in Nauru are satisfactory.

The Memorandum of Understanding with the Nauruan Government was signed on 29 August. Construction work on the temporary facility is nearing completion and the government expects to be able to begin transferring people to Nauru later this week.

Mr Bowen said the government was committed to implementing the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers.

‘The designation I have tabled today is the next step in implementing the Expert Panel’s recommendations,’ he said.

Further announcements about processing arrangements in Nauru will be made in due course.

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