Australia reaffirms hard-line immigration policy

Australia defends its hardline immigration policy after two asylum-seeker deaths, weeks of protests and several medical evacuations from Nauru.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (MAY 14, 2016) (SEVEN NETWORK) – Australia on Saturday (May 14) defended its hardline immigration policy after two asylum-seeker deaths, weeks of protests and several medical evacuations from a camp in the tiny Pacific Island nation of Nauru.

On Friday (May 13) a woman was flown from the island to the Australian city of Brisbane in a critical condition after a cesarean operation.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton defended her treatment.

“This woman is provided with the medical support that you would expect and there is significant numbers of medical staff through IHMS (International Heath and Medical Services) who are, let me finish, who are on the island and they are providing the medical support to people. She is receiving the medical attention that’s required and that’s being provided to her and I don’t have an update in relation to her medical condition otherwise,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

State-owned broadcaster SBS reported that the woman was a 22-year-old Somali named Naima Ahmed, and that her condition was no longer life-threatening.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia’s policy of refusing to accept asylum seekers who arrived by boat was necessary to deter people smugglers from organising dangerous sea voyages.

“We do not theorise about border protection, this is not something where there is speculation, debates between experts. We know what happens when the strong border protection policies of the Howard government, in which I was a cabinet minister, we know what happens when those policies were abandoned, we know: 1,200 people drowned at sea at least, they’re the ones we know about. Fifty thousand unauthorised arrivals, it was a catastrophe,” Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

Asylum seekers intercepted attempting to reach Australia by boat are sent for processing to camps on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea or on the Pacific island state of Nauru. They are not eligible to be resettled in Australia.

Papua New Guinea has said it plans to close the Manus Island detention centre after its Supreme Court ruled it unlawful.

In the past month two asylum seekers detained on Nauru have set themselves on fire and one of them, an Iranian, died. Another asylum seeker died of a heart attack last week.