Weekly media wrap 27 July 2015

At the Australian Labor Party (ALP) conference, a motion to prohibit asylum seeker boat turnbacks was defeated. Despite support for the motion from several senior Labor members, including deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, Labor will turn back boats to transit countries ‘where it is safe to do so’. A second motion, calling for the closure of offshore detention facilities that don't meet ‘humane and safe conditions’ was also defeated.

The ALP conference saw the announcement of Labor's new immigration policy, which includes the following elements: the abolishment of Temporary Protection Visas; the reinstatement of references to the UN Refugee Convention in the Migration Act; an increase of humanitarian visa places to 27,000 by 2025; a contribution of $450 million to UNHCR over three years; the implementation of independent oversight of detention facilities on Manus Island and Nauru; and the introduction of a children's monitor.

An ongoing senate inquiry investigating conditions at the detention centre on Nauru heard that, despite 30 child abuse allegations against detention staff, no charges have been laid. In a submission from Save the Children case workers, the inquiry heard that female detainees were denied easy access to sanitary products and women and children were often provided with ill-fitting clothing. 

A boatload of Vietnamese asylum seekers was intercepted and is being held off the coast of Western Australia. Vietnamese community leaders in Australia and asylum seeker advocates argued that the asylum seekers would risk imprisonment if returned to their home country. The federal government refused to comment.

Guardian Australia continued its investigation into International Health and Medical Services (IHMS), Australia's healthcare provider for asylum seekers in detention.  The Guardian cited leaked documents that highlight tension between the company's required standard of professional clinical care and its commercial interests.