November 29, 2012
Papua New Guinea’s leader wants the asylum seekers boat arrivals Australia sends to Manus Island to be processed and moved on as soon as possible.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says he’s happy for Australia to manage and control the recently re-opened detention facility on the island, which will receive people under Labor’s controversial ‘no advantage’ principle.
Under this principle, asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat could spend up to five years in detention even after they are found to be refugees as part of a tough regime designed to deter people from attempting boat journeys.
‘Of course we encourage the Australian government to process those asylum seekers as quickly as possible so a decision can be made,’ Mr O’Neill told reporters at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.
‘If their applications are not in order they must be repatriated to their country as quickly as possible.’
Mr O’Neill said he believed Australia would ‘do the right thing’.
‘Nobody likes people staying there too long on an island such as Manus, it’s just going to create more tension for our own people if the numbers continue to increase,’ he said.
Mr O’Neill defended the state of the Manus facilities.
‘We believe very strongly that the facilities are adequate and will cater for the asylum seekers to be looked after in a humane fashion.’
Australia resumed sending asylum seekers to Manus earlier this month, transferring 19 people – including four children – from Iran and Sri Lanka.