Weekly media round-up No. 16

The Abbott Government has sacked the Immigration Health Advisory Group, a group formed to advise DIAC on the health asylum seekers. Facing a larger than predicted budget deficit, the Government has flagged large increases in the cost of offshore processing of asylum seekers. The Salvation Army announced the cancellation of its $74m contract to provide services to asylum seekers.

Amnesty International released a report criticising the EU for its response to the Syrian refugee crisis. The report noted that only 10 EU member states had offered to resettle Syrian refugees. Amnesty International released a separate report condemning at the Manus Island Detention facility. The report noted such deficiencies as inadequate access to medical services, water and clothing. In the same week, the Australian Government disbanded an independent panel that provided advice in regards to the mental health of refugees in detention.

Prime Minister Abbott this week encouraged Indonesia to resume diplomatic relations following its suspension in late November. On several occasions in recent weeks, the Government has attributed a fall in asylum boat arrivals to the success of Operation Sovereign Borders. In response, researchers from the University of Queensland conducted an analysis of maritime arrival statistics. They found “no sign that the election of the Abbott Coalition Government has had any impact on arrivals whatsoever.”