All of the children currently detained in Australia‘s offshore detention system in Nauru will reportedly be relocated to our shores by Christmas, after the Morrison government finally acquiesced to community pressure, concern from fellow MPs, the opinion of countless medical experts and international authorities, and most critically, the testimonies of the asylum seekers themselves.
The Australian reports there are still 40 children detained on the island with their families, but that number has dropped in recent weeks as an increasing number of at-risk kids have been brought to Australian hospitals for treatment. On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra “We’ve been getting about this quietly, we haven’t been showboating about it.”
It would have been a bit bloody hypocritical if they had showboated. 13 of the kids transferred to Australia in recent days were admitted to hospital for treatment, and that’s notable, considering Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s long history of only accepting sick asylum seekers onto our shores after losing court battles.
Also notable: The relocations will not include single adult asylum seekers still stuck on the island, who will continue to endure dire conditions as part of the Coalition‘s harsh border protection policy.
While the Federal Government has not outright confirmed the pre-Christmas timeline, former attorney-general George Brandis told ABC the number of asylum seeker children on Nauru is decreasing, and “we expect that by the end of this year there will be none.”
It’s a start, but an even better move would have been not detaining children in a ceaselessly traumatic environment in the first place.