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Senate enquiry condemns the Nauru detention centre as “insupportable”.

The five-member cross-party select committee recently  published its report on conditions at the Nauru detention centre and demanded that all asylum seeker children should be removed immediately. The report cites widespread allegations of child abuse, violence against asylum seekers, deprivation and sexual assault. The committee states that “Nauru is not well run, nor are Wilson Security and Transfield Services properly accountable to the commonwealth despite the significant investment in their services”. The committee also found that Australia –not Nauru – is legally responsible for the abuses in the centre, because the Australian government has effective control of it.  The government’s insistence that the problems in the centre are a matter for the Nauruan government are “a cynical and unjustifiable attempt to avoid accountability”. The report goes on to highlight the secrecy, lack of transparency and accountability in the centre, which inevitably lead to detainees being mistreated,  and states that new laws should be enacted to make mandatory the reporting of sexual assault and violence allegations.
Running the Nauru detention centre has cost the Australian taxpayers $1.33 billion since it was reopened in September 2012.  Putting to one side for a moment the moral, humanitarian and international obligations issues, this cannot possibly be a good use of taxpayers’ money. 

This is surely an appropriate time for us to be writing to the new Prime Minister to urge a change in policy.

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