Crossbenchers pressure government on refugees

Asylum-seekers at the detention centre at Nauru (ABC News/Department of Immigration)

Pressure is building on the Morrison Government to resettle asylum-seekers currently on Manus Island and Nauru. Source: ABC News.

Just over 530 people have already been sent to the United States under the resettlement deal, but Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the US would not be taking as many people as originally expected.

Mr Dutton told ABC TV’s Insiders he was determined to find new homes for about 800 people remaining on the two islands.

“I want people off Manus and Nauru overnight, but I want to do it in a way that doesn’t restart boats, and kids drowning again at sea,” he said.

Of the remaining group, about 300 have been approved for resettlement in the US and are awaiting departure, but the government is yet to outline a plan for the others.

Crossbench MP Rebekha Sharkie said she would do her best to put the issue front and centre when Parliament resumes.

“We will not stop with our pressure to government because they cannot leave people languishing there indefinitely,” she said. “There are many issues that take up the political space and so we need to make sure that the livelihood of those people, that they do have a future and we need to show to them that Australia cares.”

As to how that would be achieved, Ms Sharkie pointed to the efforts of the crossbench last year. She said it was the pressure from a number of MPs and the community that resulted in the Government removing all children from offshore detention, and she planned to use the same tactics this time around.

Another crossbench MP who intends to speak to the government is the newly elected member for Warringah, Zali Steggall.

“It’s certainly an issue of concern because I think it’s been lingering for much too long,” she said. “I think there are some other pressing issues that need to be dealt with, but this is certainly one of the ones that has to be considered.”

The independent MP said that apart from indefinite detention being inhumane, it was also costly.


Federal Government under mounting pressure to resettle refugees on Manus Island and Nauru (ABC News

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