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Tuesday, 23 October 2018
Page: 10734

Immigration Detention


Mrs PRENTICE (Ryan) (14:49): My question is to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs. Will the minister please update the House on the real status of the people on Nauru who are subject to regional processing arrangements? And how's the government managing this issue? And are the government and the minister aware of any alternative approaches?


Mr COLEMAN (BanksMinister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs) (14:50): I thank the member for her question. I can confirm to the House there are currently 635 people on Nauru and the total number of children is 52. Transferees on Nauru have the same freedom of movement around Nauru as other local Nauruans. They are not in detention. Transfers to the United States under the resettlement agreement continue. Further transfers are expected in the coming months and, to date, 439 people have been resettled by this government from Manus and Nauru to the United States, including 17 who departed this week.

There are 65 health professionals contracted by the Australian government to provide health services on Nauru, including 33 mental health professionals. These services are available seven days a week and after hours. More than 200 children have been transferred from Nauru to other nations for medical reasons. Decisions about medical transfers are made on a case-by-case basis under the guidance of a Commonwealth medical officer. We do not issue press releases or make public announcements about these transfers.

The reason these people are on Nauru is the catastrophic failure of the Labor Party, because it is the policies of the Labor Party—the extraordinary and catastrophic humanitarian disaster that was wrought by the Labor Party—that led to people being in offshore resettlement. We know that people-smugglers haven't gone away. We know that this is a very, very dangerous group of people who are itching to get back into business. Under Labor—

Dr Freelander: This is about children!

The SPEAKER: The member for Macarthur is warned!

Mr COLEMAN: Fifty thousand people arrived—

Dr Freelander interjecting

The SPEAKER: The minister will pause for a second. The member for Macarthur will cease interjecting. The minister has the call.

Mr COLEMAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Fifty thousand people arrived illegally. It is estimated that 1,200 people drowned, and, of course, that number includes children. Eight thousand people were placed in detention by those opposite. When we came to government, there were 2,000 children in detention. We got them all out. Those opposite opened 17 detention centres. They opened Curtin immigration centre, they opened Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre, they opened the Scherger Immigration Detention Centre, they opened Wickham Point Immigration Detention Centre, and, of course, they opened the Christmas Island immigration detention centre because of the catastrophic failure of their policies.

What we have done? We closed the Curtin immigration centre, we closed the Scherger immigration centre, we closed the Northern Immigration Detention Centre, we closed the Wickham Point Immigration Detention Centre, and do you know what we did just a couple of weeks ago, Mr Speaker? We closed the Christmas Island detention centre, and we did that because this Prime Minister and this Minister for Home Affairs stopped the boats, which allowed us to get people out of detention. The record of those opposite is an appalling stain. We'll never repeat it. We will never allow people-smugglers to get back into business.