Weekly media wrap - 13 April

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop will seek to persuade Iran to take back hundreds of failed asylum seekers held in Australian immigration detention when she visits Tehran next week. So far, Iran has refused to do so. Labor leader Bill Shorten said he will support the move, as long as Australia meets its obligations under international law. The Refugee Action Collective said Bishop was ‘playing with people’s lives’ by sending them back to Iran, where they may face persecution.

The Government announced it will make a telemovie designed to deter asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat. The ABC’s Lateline reported that the drama is due to be broadcast later this year in countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. A spokesperson from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the ‘telemovie will realistically portray the journeys of people… and the challenges they face’. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the movie was part of an intensive effort by the Federal Government to end the people smuggling trade. Critics have opposed the drama, objecting to its cost and saying it would be unlikely to deter people from fleeing.

In Nauru, an asylum seeker who reported being sexually assaulted as part of the Moss Review says those who have made allegations of assaults have faced threats of harm from the perpetrators.

Transfield Services told their staff on Manus Island and Nauru detention centres that they can be fired for interacting with asylum seekers on social media, or being affiliated with a political, advocacy or religious groups opposed to Australia’s refugee policy.

On the mainland, an Iranian asylum seeker who has been on hunger strike for 44 days in Perth has begun accepting fluids.