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Refugee Policy - Chris Hayes MP

November 08, 2017

I know that you are concerned about Australia’s policy on refugees, and I want to thank you for having contacted me previously. Today I am writing to you about Manus Island.

I am deeply concerned about the situation on Manus Island. It is completely unacceptable and the government has completely failed these refugees and asylum seekers. Under the Liberals, there have been delays, chaos, and secrecy. The generous offer from New Zealand has been on the table for three years now.  Mr Turnbull should accept it.

I have publicly stated that the government should respond to the increasing tension following the closure of the Regional Processing Centre, and act urgently to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus. Instead of taking responsibility, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is blaming refugees and their advocates. Malcolm Turnbull must step in to ensure refugees have immediate access to essential services – including security, health and welfare services - and safe resettlement.

The Turnbull government has been woefully incompetent in finding new permanent homes for refugees.

In government Labor had initiated a proper regional resettlement system which would have begun with asylum seekers living and working in Malaysia, with their children going to school and with proper health care, and Australia taking more refugees from the region. The Liberals prevented that from happening.

The people on Manus and Nauru have been in limbo for far too long. Manus and Nauru were set up as temporary transit facilities, but have become places of indefinite detention because of the failure of the Turnbull government to negotiate third country resettlement options.

I'm also very concerned about the local community on Manus Island. Tensions are on the rise, including because of the lack of consultation prior to the proposed movement of refugees and asylum seekers. It is worrying that UNHCR representatives say that facilities for the men within the local community are still under construction, do not have water or electricity connected and have limited capacity. This puts great pressure on the local community.

I am also most concerned given recent reports that asylum seekers and refugees in Nauru have had medical treatment and transfers delayed by bureaucracy, including patients with breast lumps, kidney stones and neurological damage. These are serious matters that cannot go unanswered.

I will continue to call on the Government to act to offer immediate protection as well as safe resettlement to refugees who have sought our protection.