Moves by Labor, the Greens and Senate crossbenchers to allow asylum seekers from Nauru and Manus Island to be transferred to Australia on the say-so of two doctors have today been met with concern from the Australian Christian Lobby.
Martyn Iles, ACL managing director, said, “We are concerned that this move may provoke self-harm and unrest because of the promise that health problems are the price of a ticket to Australia.”
“The policy will incentivise self-harm.”
“This move also sends the false message that those on Manus and Nauru are in a desperate or acute medical condition. That is incorrect. Medical care is constantly provided to both groups.”
“The government has successfully reduced the number of children on Nauru to just 10 and is actively finding solutions for all the remaining refugees and asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru.”
“This move only serves to disrupt – potentially seriously – a measured and cautious process.”
“If people smugglers sense that Australia is a viable option again, another boat crisis will be upon us. People will drown. The detention centres will be reopened. That is untenable.”
The Australian Christian Lobby reaffirmed its position that a strong border policy, humane treatment of asylum seekers, and a generous refugee intake for the most persecuted and needy should be the government’s priorities.