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Manus detention centre approved by cabinet

THE PNG cabinet has approved reopening the asylum-seeker detention centre to be run by Australian officials on Manus Island.

This is welcome news to the Australian government, which is struggling to deal with unauthorised boat arrivals to Australia.

In Port Moresby, prime minister Peter O’Neill said his government had approved the reopening of the Manus Island detention centre but it was up to the Australian government when it would be up and running again.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard welcomed the news and thanked Mr O’Neill for promptly considering the request.

“Arrangements are being made for a high-level delegation of Australian officials to travel to Papua New Guinea in the very near future to finalise a memorandum of understanding regarding the centre,” Ms Gillard said.

“We are committed to working in partnership with PNG to examine how such a centre might operate, including how it might best complement broader regional activities.”

Source: The Canberra Times


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Peter Kranz

Reg - Australian Labor policies have moved to the centre-right in recent years. They are obsessed by opinion polls and 'focus groups' and believe there is a genuine public resentment about accepting refugees arriving by boat.

If these poor people are 'processed' outside Australia they have fewer legal protections. Out of sight, out of mind.

Also the right-wing shock-jocks on radio and TV and their News Ltd colleagues in the papers like to whip up public anger about 'boat people' and have a disproportionate and toxic influence on Australian politics.

So basically it comes down to political opportunism, hypocrisy and betrayal of original principles.

Sad. But don't think the Libs would be any more compassionate if they come to power - after all it was their idea in the first place.

Reginald Renagi

Many PNGeans do not agree with the government's recent decision as they say, Why can't Australia process these refugees on its own home soil?

Can any blogger/reader on PNG Attitude answer the question: why is PM Julia Gillard following the same "Pacific Solution" approach former PM John Howard also embarked on during his time in office?

Yes, Paul, it would be a good idea for Papuans to now get themselves into the Manus detention centre, so they may get access into Australia as "former Australian citizens" by birth (those before 1975).

Paul Oates

Our neighbours must be having a great laugh at Australia's expense (literally) over this absurd set of circumstances.

The problem is not one of people smugglers but one of border security. We do not have the means or the will to protect our borders and neither do our neighbours of theirs.

Nor do we have the political will or the clout to require our neighbours to prevent the people smugglers from operating inside their shores.

That being a given, why did the current Australian government ever try to fix that which wasn’t broken in the first place? Short sighted political gain is an explanation that comes to mind.

On another blog that has strong connections with PNG, it has been suggested that those Papuan people who want to come to Australia illegally might in the future well decide to get a free flight to Manus (or maybe Malaysia) for the price of an old canoe.

Except, that is, for the example of the chap who organised the last attempt and who now sits in a Moresby jail.

The disparity between our treatment of people from our nearest neighbour and those who are arriving in their thousands at Christmas Island stands out like the proverbial country dunny.

The treatment by the PNG government of the organiser of the previous illegal border crossing from PNG is also of stark contrast.

What a pity other neighbours won’t follow PNG’s initiative? It might well deter the people who are profiting from this dangerous activity.

Peter Kranz

It beats me why the Gillard government, which was so opposed to the the Howard-era off-shore processing of refugees, has now embraced the idea.

I've nothing against Manus - it's a lovely place - but Manusians, don't expect much consistency or long-term support from the Australian government.

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