Labor and the Greens today combined to ensure only one point of view was presented at the Senate Select Committee hearing into Recent Allegations relating to Conditions and Circumstances at the Regional Processing Centre in Nauru.
The Labor-Greens alliance delayed proceedings to make sure the Department of Immigration and Border Protection could not present evidence.
The Department’s evidence would clearly be an inconvenient truth for this Labor-Greens witchhunt.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection commissioned an independent review into serious allegations relating to the conditions and circumstances at the Regional Processing Centre (RPCs) in Nauru by Mr Philip Moss late last year.
The Review was handed down less than two months ago.
The Department accepted all of the 19 recommendations made by the Moss Review and the Department has worked constructively with the Government of Nauru and service providers to make significant progress on implementation of these recommendations.
Even the service providers acknowledged the infrastructure and service improvements made under the Abbott Government and strong endorsements were given by Transfield and Save the Children of the Government’s prompt implementation of the Moss reviews recommendations.
But Labor still has deep internal divisions on how to deal with border protection and illegal maritime arrivals – divisions which when they were in Government allowed 50,000 people to pour into Australia filling detention centres and bringing the opening of RPCs.
Those divisions were clear for all to see today.
Labor Senators seemed to forget that RPCs on Nauru and Manus Island were established by the former Labor Government and that it was under their watch that a riot destroyed a large section of the centre causing $75 million damage.
Senators Carr and Gallacher were intent on railing against regional processing, while their leader was forced to state unequivocally that it remained firmly Labor policy.
Speaking in Brisbane, Mr Shorten stated: “Labor is the one who fundamentally believed in regional resettlement…. when it comes to regional resettlement, Labor is very committed to that.”
In addition to implementing all of the recommendations, the Department has set up a Child Protection Panel to provide independent advice on child protection in immigration detention and RPCs and four additional Australian Federal Police officers have travelled to Nauru to advise local police.
The Department will cooperate fully with the Senate Select Committee although this stunt should be seen for what it is – nothing more than a waste of time and taxpayers' money.
As the Minister, let me state that I have zero tolerance for any form of criminal activity. Sexual assault, particularly involving minors is personally abhorrent to me.
The Department and the Government is committed to supporting the Government of Nauru in providing a safe environment for all asylum seekers and refugees in Nauru, and particularly women and children.
All allegations of serious assault, including sexual assault, that are reported to the Department are referred to the appropriate authorities for investigation.
Services and safeguards are significantly better now than the rushed temporary arrangements that were initially put in place under Labor when Nauru RPC was opened.