In a speech to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on Thursday, Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton stated that Australia will continue to process asylum seekers on Nauru for ‘decades’. In an interview with the al-Jazeera network, he appeared to leave open the possibility of refugees being resettled in New Zealand from Nauru, but clarified that this would be an arrangement between the governments of Nauru and New Zealand.
Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, appealed to Malcolm Turnbull to bring asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island to Australia. The AHRC will release a report outlining alternatives to Australia’s current asylum-seeker policy on Wednesday.
Australia’s offshore detention policies were also criticised by Chitralekha Massey, the new Pacific representative of the United Nations Human Rights Office. In an interview with Guardian Australia, Massey urged Australia to adopt a ‘non-custodial’ approach to asylum seeker processing. Despite this and other criticisms, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull maintained that Australia’s border protection policies are ‘the best in the world’.
A report from Unicef and Save the Children found that Australia’s current asylum seeker policy has cost $9.6 billion over the last four years. $3.6 billion has been spent on offshore processing and $5.6 billion on onshore mandatory detention.