August 05, 2013
Immigration Minister Tony Burke has confirmed refugees resettled on Nauru will not have the option of becoming permanent residents there, but he believes it is still a secure arrangement.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has signed a new deal with Nauru’s president to resettle some asylum seekers found to be refugees.
But Nauru’s official spokeswomen has reportedly told Fairfax that those refugees will not be granted citizenship and she expects most will eventually move on.
Mr Burke says that has been the country’s experience in the past.
- Asylum seekers resettled on Nauru will not become permanent residents or citizens
- Nauru remains a signatory of the UN refugee convention so asylum seekers will not be returned to places of persecution
- Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop and Greens leader Christine Milne have criticised the new memorandum of understanding
“The experience of Nauru has been that when people are given a chance to settle, they tend to not remain permanently,” he said.
“Certainly Nauru is a signatory to the convention, they’re not going to be sending people back to a place of persecution or anything like that.
“And they’ve made clear, for a limited number of people, they’ll be allowing people to be able to settle.”
Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop says she is not surprised questions are being asked about the deal with Nauru.
“I haven’t seen any difference in his (Mr Rudd’s) political behaviour,” she said.
“[Mr Rudd’s] still making grand announcements that unravel as soon as the lights and cameras move on, for example the announcement he made about Nauru.
“It’s a misleading claim about the nature of the agreement he says he reached with that country.”
Milne says ‘the wheels have fallen off’
Greens leader Christine Milne says “the wheels have fallen off” Mr Rudd’s plan.
“On Saturday, Prime Minister Rudd stage-managed a big press conference with the president of Nauru and said several times that he would expect people to be resettled on Nauru,” she told a media conference this afternoon.
“I said that was not only cruel but absurd.
“A 21-square kilometre rock which has no food production and insecure water supplies, already high level of unemployment among Narauans – how could you possibly imagine you could resettle people there?
“Within two days the wheels have fallen off this cruel, cruel plan.
“With Nauru now saying they never had any expectation that people would be permanently resettled on Nauru, what they’re saying is that they would be effectively a permanent warehouse, people left in limbo in this cruel situation and that Prime Minister Rudd thinks that is OK.
“Well it’s not OK. It’s cruel.”