Feel free to shoot down this here article to get into the Sales-Dutton interview, by all means. But, if you’ve got time, consider the two figures of significance we really need to understand in Australia’s latest off-shore processing fiasco.
850 – that’s how many detainees there are in the certifiably-illegal Manus Island detention centre. That’s how many people the Australian Federal Government will be charged with relocating, despite Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s assertions it’s all on Papua New Guinea. That’s the number of detainees who could now be coming at Australia for financial compensation.
$1,000,000,000 – a slightly larger number, and how much those compensation claims could amount to, according to one of PNG’s most eminent lawyers. A potential monetary figure that’d account for every minute Australia detained others in a thoroughly unlawful manner.
The Age reports lawyer Ben Lomai proposed that figure based on a previous ruling, where an inmate was compensated the equivalent of $125 for every day they spent deprived of human liberties. Add in a boggling number of other inhumane circumstances in the facility, and wham: we’ve been given a hard figure to account for all the nasty shit Australia’s been culpable for.
Of course, before we can even begin to deal with the financial ramifications, there’s still the very current fact these people are still on Manus Island, and PNG wants ’em gone. On tonight’s 7.30, Dutton was given what-for by Leigh Sales on that issue, and his responses to the matter were somewhat lacklustre.
Despite the PNG High Court claiming the detainees are our responsibility, Dutton reaffirmed the idea it’s on them – despite our intrinsic involvement in the whole deal – and that any assistance we give will be due to our status in the region, not because of any quibbling moral or legal concerns.
When asked if he had been in direct conversation with the Nauruan government on the prospect of rehousing the detainees there, his response was “the point that I’d make, Leigh, is that we have stopped the boats and we’ve emptied people out of detention centres.” Of course.