The Manus Island riot triggered significant social and political debate in Australia. Footage released depicts chaotic scenes at the temporary hospital established to treat those injured. Preliminary reports found Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati died from multiple head injuries, possibly inflicted by a heavy object.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison travelled to Papua New Guinea to discuss the Manus Island riot. Both the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments reiterated their intention to maintain the detention facility. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also defended the policy in a speech given at Oxford University.
Frustration regarding the secrecy of Operation Sovereign Borders led to Labor Senator Stephen Conroy accusing military commander Angus Campbell of a ‘political cover-up’ during a Senate Estimates hearing. A group of asylum seekers claimed that the Australian navy had blown up their vessel after transferring them to a naval lifeboat for return to Indonesia.
A new website inviting Australians to apologise for the government’s treatment of asylum seekers received national and international coverage. Five artists withdrew from the upcoming Sydney Biennale due to the festival being sponsored by Transfield, a company contracted to provide services at the Manus Island and Nauru detention facilities.