The Australian Greens party Monday introduced a bill to parliament asking the government to take in 150 refugees living in Nauru and Papua New Guinea (PNG), who have been there for a decade seeking asylum in Australia.
“After ten long years of offshore detention it is abhorrent that about 150 people remain exiled in PNG and Nauru,” Greens Immigration spokesperson Senator Nick McKim said in a statement.
For over a decade, since the Gillard-Rudd Labor government, Australia has maintained a policy preventing asylum seekers who attempted to travel to Australia by boat from ever being resettled in Australia.
“It was the [Australian Labor Party] which sent every one of these people to Manus Island and Nauru in 2013, which means that Labor has a moral responsibility to end their exile. Offshore detention has been a humanitarian calamity, and one of the darkest and bloodiest chapters in our country’s story. It is time we wrote the ending, and this Bill will help us to do that,” Nick McKim said.
The legislation does not require the government to settle people permanently in Australia. It instead offers to support them in Australia until a durable third-country solution is secured.
Nick McKim continued on Twitter that the bill is “in line with ALP policy so we can collaborate to write an end to a dark chapter in our country’s story.”
Meanwhile Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young urged “Labor to help us bring an end to a decade of inhumanity.”
However AusTender reported that the Albanese Government has contracted the US private prison company Management and Training Corporation (MTC) until September 2025 to hold refugees on Nauru, costing AU$422 million. This is despite refugees being held offshore “being in need of urgent medical evacuation,” according to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
Two of the Australian government’s election promises were to provide permanent protection for refugees who are currently subjected to a protracted temporary visa system, and to create a fairer process for people seeking asylum.