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Australia to reopen controversial offshore detention centre

Australia to reopen controversial offshore detention centre

"We don't want the vile people smuggler trade in business, exploiting people's misery", Shorten said.

Mr Dutton said any new arrivals would go to Nauru, but added it was also possible medical transferees could end up on Christmas Island, where the detention centre will be reopened after closing in October previous year.

The government has not said how many medical transferees will likely live in the community and how many will need to be held in detention centres. Australian media say the local administration office was not informed of the decision to reopen it.

"My job now is to do everything in my power, in the power of the government, to ensure what the Parliament has done to weaken our borders does not result in boats coming to Australia".

The laws will only apply to people now offshore and will not apply to any future boat arrivals.

The Labor leader said the Coalition should be "ashamed of themselves for luring people to Australia by somehow implying that this Government hasn't got strong borders".

'He has no strength on this issue and he can not be trusted to follow through on any of the border protection measures that our government has put in place'.

Labor says Scott Morrison is talking down Australia's border protection regime by deliberately misrepresenting the new medivac laws, which will make it easier for refugees on Manus and Nauru to be transferred to Australia for medical treatment.

Medical evacuations have become a loophole in Australia's policy of exiling asylum seekers who arrive by boat.




In the past when seriously ill asylum seekers were treated on the mainland, advocates and lawyers obtained a court injunction preventing their return to PNG or Nauru.

Earlier this morning, Mr Morrison called a meeting of the National Security Committee after which he declared the Christmas Island detention facility will be reopened.

The reopening of Christmas Island takes place ahead of a general election due in May and in the midst of a fierce debate over the government's harsh immigration policies. A wooden boat carrying 90 asylum seekers from Iran and Iraq ran onto rocks on Christmas Island in 2010, killing 48.

"It should come as no surprise to people that people smugglers have heard what is going on", Mr Dutton said.

Because it was the most prison-like of Australia's immigration centers, Christmas Island had been repurposed in recently years to house foreign criminals who had completed sentences in Australian jails and were fighting deportation.

"The Greens worked with the crossbench and constructively held Labor to account, stopping too much power from remaining in (Home Affairs Minister) Peter Dutton's hands".

He pointed out the medivac bill only applied to asylum seekers and refugees now stranded on Manus Island and Nauru.

"If they do come, you can thank the Labor Party and Bill Shorten because he is the one who has led this process".

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