Seven Iranian families — comprising 14 adults and 12 children — were sent to Nauru’s detention camp on August 21. Immigration minister Tony Burke said the children were aged between five and 15. He said more families would be sent to the island and “before long” unaccompanied minors would also face possible removal from Australia to Nauru.
The Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on August 21.
The Refugee Action Coalition has condemned the Labor government’s transfer of asylum seeker families to Nauru.
“This is a shameful election stunt,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“The government is desperate to distract attention away from its collapsing ‘PNG solution’.
“There are no proper facilities on Nauru for anyone, let alone families and children. The new arrivals are being placed in an isolated, bulldozed area with nothing but very hastily erected tents. You don’t need any imagination to understand the difficulties of trying to care for children in the unbearable conditions on Nauru.
“We also know that there are no adequate medical facilities in the detention centres or on Nauru itself since the fire burnt the main hospital.
“It is reckless and desperate move to the Immigration Minister. There have been weekly transfers of asylum seekers from Nauru to Australia because detainees cannot get proper medical treatment on Nauru.
“The Minister has just added families and children to the list of asylum seekers he is prepared to sacrifice to Labor’s shabby anti-refugee election campaign.
“A recent Newspoll survey revealed that 56 per cent do not want pregnant women, children and families to be sent to Nauru or PNG. The Labor Party cannot pretend that off-shore processing is popular policy. The families being sent to Nauru are the latest casualties of Labor’s desperate electoral ploy.”
[National rallies are being held this weekend to oppose the anti-refugee policies of both Labor and Liberal parties. The Sydney rally will be held on Saturday 24 August, 1pm at Town Hall.]