Immigration Minister Scott Morrison released a report investigating the events leading up to and death of Iranian asylum seeker, Reza Barati. The report found that the assault was committed by a PNG national working for the Salvation Army. The minister expressed regret that recommended improvements to security arrangements from November 2013 had not been implemented at the time of the death. PNG police conducting a parallel investigation described the report as a cover up.
After receiving an allocation in the recent federal budget, core funding of $140,000 for the Refugee Council of Australia was cut, a return to the funding model under the Howard Government. The immigration minister has said he was not aware that the Council received government funding until after the release of the budget.
In response to enquiries from Labor Senator Joe Ludwig, departmental documents revealed that together, the departments of Immigration and Border Protection and Australian Customs spent over $8 million and $9.2 million in salaries alone. The government has announced 4000 extra places under the Special Humanitarian Program over the next five years.
The minister has been involved in negotiations with the Cambodian government to arrange permanent resettlement for refugees currently detained in Nauru. The plan has been criticised by international groups concerned with Cambodia’s human rights record.