Weekly media round-up No. 18

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison stopped holding weekly news conferences on asylum seeker boat arrivals, instead issuing a written statement with no opportunity for journalists to ask questions. Mr Morrison's office said that 355 asylum seekers arrived in December though none in the past week.

Serco announced it has secured a six-month extension to its contract with the Australian Government for the provision of detention services on the mainland and Christmas Island. Fairfax media reports that each asylum seeker who tries to reach Australia on a boat could cost taxpayers almost half a million dollars.

An Iranian asylum seeker who miscarried on Christmas Island said her requests for medical attention were ignored. The Australian Human Rights Commission said doctors’ letter of concern is 'chilling in its scientific clarity' in detailing inhumane treatment.

An intellectually disabled woman seeking asylum and her family were moved from detention in Christmas Island to the Australian mainland. Amnesty International reported on conditions in the Manus Island detention centre.

Community leaders urged Lebanese asylum seekers to return home voluntarily from detention on Nauru and Manus Island. Zimbabwe's ambassador to Australia asked for political asylum days before her term ends saying she fears for her safety if she returns home.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported one in five people living in Lebanon are refugees who have fled the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

Pope Francis called for dignity for refugees fleeing misery and conflict in his Christmas Day speech.