Australian Opposition says Nauru accomodation adequate for now | Connect Asia

Australian Opposition says Nauru accomodation adequate for now

Australian Opposition says Nauru accomodation adequate for now

Updated 5 December 2012, 15:12 AEDT

The Australian Opposition has taken aim at those who it says are encouraging asylum seekers to protest against their detention on Nauru.

The Opposition's Immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, made the claim, while on a trip to Nauru to inspect facilities, which he says are adequate.

Presenter: Alexandra Kirk

Speaker: Scott Morrison, Australian Opposition immigration spokesman

SCOTT MORRISON: The bigger concern is the presence of a very disruptive group within the facility. A very small number of people who are there are creating difficulties for the running of the centre, as well as for other people who are in the centre. And it concerns me greatly that this group, who- I've had reports of bullying others within the centre and reaching out outside the centre and back to Australia and receiving encouragement for their protests and others.

I mean, people supporting that sort of thing are playing with fire.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: What do you suggest happens to them?

SCOTT MORRISON: I'm pleased with the actions of the Nauruan government in particular, who are proceeding with charges against some individuals, and some more have been laid since I've been here for some other incidents.

But the group of Iranians in the centre is only 30 out of almost 400 people and they've been identified as the primary group who have been involved in a range of incidents in the facility.

And these are the same groups that are quite active in their public protests and I think people should think very carefully about encouraging that sort of behaviour in the facility because it is making conditions very difficult for others in the facility who are doing the right thing and cooperating with both the Nauruan and the Australians who are there.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Is that your main concern or do you agree...

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, there are a range of issues. My biggest concern obviously is we need to get beyond temporary facilities as soon as we can.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Do you agree with Amnesty that the detention facility is inappropriate, ill equipped, and the conditions inhumane?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well no, I wouldn't go that far. I mean, the conditions are difficult.

I mean, Australians who are working up here are living in tents as well. Some 80 staff live in tents here and the tents provide their challenges, but that's nothing that a permanent centre can't address.

And if they were permanent arrangements then obviously that wouldn't be appropriate but they're not permanent arrangements, and the timetable given to me by the department yesterday for getting permanent facilities in place if they can meet it, well I think that's a reasonable timetable.

I still remain totally puzzled why it's taken so long to get to permanent facility plans.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: When have you been told the permanent facilities will be ready?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, I understand some first rooms will be available towards the end of January, and progressively over the months that follow - around to about April, May. But those timetables need to be confirmed, I think, by the Government and the Minister in particular.

That will see a facility of around about 900 people available later next year, in the first six months. But the first rooms, which is most critical, are those 3 to 400 rooms - I should say places - available in permanent accommodation.

Now that would match those who are currently here in tents. That would be the end of January.

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