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Letter: Dear Prime Minister : Recent revelations about the awarding of contracts - Nauru Reprocessing Centre

Dear Prime Minister,

The recent revelations about the awarding of contracts to businesses involved in the oversight of the Nauru Reprocessing Centre are a matter of serious concern. Media reports indicate that the Home Affairs Department oversaw millions of dollars going to Pacific politicians through a chain of suspect contracts, with a money trail implicating major politicians in a systemic misuse of taxpayer funds. In addition, it was reported that a detention contract worth $9.3 million was awarded to a businessman at a time when he was being actively investigated for corrupt conduct.

None of this should come as a surprise. Keeping asylum seekers out of sight and out of mind has been the overriding priority of successive Australian governments, regardless of the impact on their wellbeing. Their human rights have always come a poor second. The immorality and lack of integrity of the whole process of offshore detention have rarely been a focus for the government’s attention.

What is now urgently required is a Royal Commission to examine the whole structure of offshore detention. We need a clear exposition of the policy, and we need to understand the true costs of more than a decade of detaining people who have sought asylum on our shores. That includes the true costs in relation to funding, the treatment of asylum seekers on Nauru and in PNG, the impact on their lives and the damage caused to Australia’s international reputation.

I look forward to your response.


Mike Griffin