Opposition's Plan For New Nauru Revealed

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2nd February 2010, 07:15pm - Views: 541
Opposition's plan for new Nauru revealed

The Liberal Party has today revealed plans to reintroduce the disgraced Pacific solution to detain asylum seekers.

In a radio interview with 2GB, the Opposition's immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, said:

"We have no problem with finding alternative offshore detention arrangements, whether that's in another country or within another excised Australian territory. The Government has said no to that. I mean, that's what they should have been doing for the last six months when they knew that the boats were surging. They should have been looking for an alternative offshore destination, as we did - we had Nauru and Manus."

Under John Howard's so-called Pacific solution, 1637 people including 452 children were packed off to Nauru and Manus Island, where the average length of stay was 501 days or approximately one and a third years. The longest length of stay was 1958 days more than five years.

Of the 1637 people detained in the Nauru and Manus facilities, 1153 or 70% were ultimately resettled in Australia or other countries. Of those, 705 were resettled in Australia.

The Howard Government's Pacific solution was condemned internationally and did nothing to foster regional co-operation on people smuggling or promote international co-operation on providing protection to refugees.

The UNHCR expressed concerns that the Pacific solution detracted from Australia's international responsibilities in its submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee on the Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill.

"Off-shore processing on Nauru, introduced by Australia in October 2001 ... has resulted in prolonged detention-like situations of asylum-seekers and refugees alike, as well as extended separation of families. The practice is also known by UNHCR to have contributed to serious mental health problems."

The Pacific solution was a cynical, costly and ultimately unsuccessful exercise introduced on the eve of a Federal election by the Howard Government.

The Rudd Government pledged to dismantle the Pacific solution. It has been done and there is no intention to return to that shameful period.

Media Contact: Simon Dowding (02) 6277 7860 or 0411 138 541

SOURCE: Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

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