It shouldn’t take a bloody senate inquiry for Australian authorities to take a serious look at the rampant allegations of abuse and self-harm in the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres, but here we are.
Following last month’s leak of more than 2,000 horrific reports from Australia’s offshore detention facilities, the Senate passed a motion today calling for the examination of those “serious allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect of asylum seekers.”
Our government, all of the third-parties involved in the detention centres, and the Immigration Department’s attempts to resettle asylum seekers in countries that aren’t Australia nor their nation of origin will all come under the inquiry’s purview.
Even a cursory glance at the government’s current stance on the allegations reveals why an inquiry is so necessary; Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has repeatedly claimed refugees self-harm and file false reports just to reach Australia.
Earlier, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did say the reports will be “carefully examined to see if there are complaints there or issues there that were not properly addressed.” Judging by today’s 35-27 vote in favour of the inquiry, that careful examination hasn’t come soon enough.
The inquiry’s report is due March next year. With any luck, a more drastic change to our offshore detention policy happens before then.