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Christmas Island: Australia 'to re-open' controversial detention centre

An aerial view of facilities at the Christmas Island detention centreSymbol copyright
Getty Pictures

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The Christmas Island detention centre operated from 2003-2018

Australian PM Scott Morrison says he’ll re-open a debatable detention centre on Christmas Island, after a ancient defeat in parliament.

On Tuesday, non-government MPs secured sufficient votes to cross a invoice making it more straightforward for in poor health refugees held offshore to be handled within the nation.

Mr Morrison mentioned the legislation would weaken the country’s difficult border insurance policies and embolden human traffickers.

Warring parties accused him of spreading worry earlier than an coming near near election.

Since 2013, Australia has despatched asylum seekers arriving by way of boat to detention centres on Manus Island (Papua New Guinea) and Nauru.

It up to now additionally despatched detainees to Christmas Island, an Australian territory within the Indian Ocean which is ready 2,600km (1,600 miles) from the mainland and 300km south of Indonesia.

The UN has criticised Australia’s detention insurance policies as “inhumane”, however the country insists they save you human trafficking and saves lives at sea.

What ended in Mr Morrison’s announcement?

Final yr, Australians have been horrified by way of reviews of a psychological well being disaster amongst youngsters on Nauru – together with circumstances of tried suicide.

It precipitated the Exertions opposition, the Vegetables and crossbench MPs to improve a invoice that provides medical doctors the facility to suggest that refugees be transferred to Australia for remedy.

Alternatively, the immigration minister would nonetheless have some authority to overrule transfers.

Mr Morrison fiercely hostile the invoice nevertheless it used to be narrowly authorized within the Area of Representatives, the place the federal government does no longer have a majority. It later cleared the Senate.

On Wednesday, Mr Morrison mentioned the federal government would re-open the Christmas Island centre “to take care of the chance of arrivals… and transfers” – arguing each have been now much more likely.

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Media captionIn 2010, dozens of asylum seekers drowned off Christmas Island

He added that Australia’s border coverage operations would obtain different further sources, however declined to elaborate.

“This parliament has already tipped its hand sufficient to the folk smugglers,” he mentioned.

Why is he being accused of fear-mongering?

Warring parties identified that the invoice applies most effective to other folks already on Nauru and Manus Island, which means new arrivals would no longer be eligible for switch to Australia.

Exertions’s Senate chief Penny Wong mentioned Mr Morrison used to be enjoying politics forward of the election, prone to be held in Would possibly.

“[This is] a development of deceit and desperation from a person who’s determined to dangle to workplace – a person who has not anything left, not anything left however deceit, worry and smear,” she instructed the chamber on Wednesday.

What came about at Christmas Island up to now?

The centre, which operated from 2003 till closing yr, noticed a lot of scenes of unrest – together with riots, protests and brawls.

In 2010, about 50 asylum seekers from Iraq and Iran died when their boat smashed onto rocks off the island.

At its peak, the centre held hundreds of other folks. It closed in October when the overall 35 detainees have been got rid of.

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