More than 20 refugees became the first people released on Nauru and Manus Island under the Coalition Government’s policy whereby no asylum seekers arriving by boat can be resettled in Australia. Thirteen people left the detention centre on Nauru, while a further 11 were resettled on Manus Island on temporary visas, including with the right to work. Seven asylum seekers had their claim for refugee status rejected and remain in detention.
The federal government announced plans to introduce legislation during Parliament’s winter session to speed up the processing of refugee claims from nearly 24,000 asylum seekers who have arrived by boat. The Australian reported the aim of the reforms would be to lower the success rate of applications for refugee status. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said ‘the Coalition will not resile from our clear policy position and permanent visas will not be given to illegal maritime arrivals on our watch’.
A court in Perth released a photo of what conditions were like aboard a boat carrying asylum seekers, which sank in June 2012, causing 102 of the 210 passengers to drown. Two men are charged with assisting a group of five or more unlawful non-citizens into Australia in a way that gave rise to danger of death or serious injury. The court heard the boat was overcrowded and carrying too few life jackets when it left Indonesia.
A group of 50 asylum seekers were discovered and prevented from attempting to travel from Indonesia to New Zealand by boat. The distance to Christmas Island is 440 kilometres, but with Australia now refusing to resettle any asylum seekers arriving by boat, Fairfax Media reported the group were willing to pay up to $7000 each to a smuggler for the 8000 kilometre journey to New Zealand.