August 25, 2013
A SECOND group of asylum seeker families has been moved to Nauru under Australia’s controversial regional settlement arrangement.
The 12 adults and 11 children were flown to Nauru as the coalition reiterated accusations that the Labor government’s resettlement plan for Manus Island is unravelling.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship says a charter flight from Christmas Island carrying the Lebanese, Iranian and Afghani families arrived in Nauru at 1pm local time.
This sends the clearest possible message that coming to Australia by boat without a visa is not the way to gain Australian residency, and children or family groups will not be exempted from transfer to regional processing centres such as Nauru, a spokesman said.
“Exempting them would simply encourage people smugglers to put children on boats to Australia,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Meanwhile, opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison told reporters that a letter from PNG officials sent to the Immigration department shows the Labor government’s plan for sending asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island has not been delivered.
“The centrepiece of Kevin Rudd’s PNG election fix, resettlement in Papua New Guinea, remains an unanswered question,” Mr Morrison said on Saturday.
The plan was “unravelling”, he said.
In the letter, published in News Corp Australia newspapers, PNG’s chief migration officer Mataio Rabura complains PNG companies are not receiving the business that had been suggested and of hasty decision making, and says discussions on resettlement have been suspended.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, also in Sydney, dismissed the media report as based on outdated correspondence.
“The truth of that matter is that that correspondence is a week or so old,” Mr Rudd told reporters in Sydney.
“Those matters have been dealt with and agreed on already.”