Feb 18, 2014

Death on Manus Island: the govt is offshoring the accountability

The government lost control of the Manus Island detention centre, and people are dead and seriously injured as a result. There must be full transparency in establishing what happened on our watch there.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

What happened last night on Manus Island? One thing is clear: the government lost control of the detention centre, which was re-established by the Rudd government and maintained by the Abbott government. As a result, one person is dead, another is critically injured and 13 others are seriously injured. Dozens more were taken to hospital.

Whether the death and injuries were the result of rioting and escape attempts by asylum seekers or, as refugee advocates claim, the result of assaults by Papua New Guinea police and locals, isn’t yet clear. Refugee advocates have a history of overstating claims of abuse in detention centres. But the allegations made — that PNG police have been involved in unprovoked attacks on asylum seekers — are extraordinarily serious.

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32 thoughts on “Death on Manus Island: the govt is offshoring the accountability

  1. Wynn

    I’d just like some links or context for the statement that refugee advocates have “a history of overstating claims of abuse in detention centres”. For the most part, I’m not sure how anyone can be sure of this, for the very reasons stated in the article.

    This whole situation is horrifying, and our prospects of seeing the transparency the piece calls for seem to be nil.

  2. The Pedanticist

    The philosophy of outsourcing is to pay to transfer risk. This but serves to divorce the moral aspect from the operational aspect.

  3. rhwombat

    The veneer is cracking, and the ghastly truth shows through. The Navy went into Indonesian waters on Morrison’s orders, only for Morrison to accuse them of not following ‘policy’. Nobody but Toady’s minders, Rupert’s lackeys and the Menzies House kiddies believe the official story of the burnt hands of asylum seekers. There aren’t enough bread or circuses to distract from the immolation of our national reputation wrought by the Plutocrat’s Party.

    Meanwhile, Furnival has left another stinking corpse behind Credlin’s arras – this time with Big Alcohol’s prints on it, rather than Big Food, but theres little to distinguish their business models, or their methods. Wonder whether we’ll hear anything about this from any Newscorpse ‘journalist’?

  4. drmick

    Wonder if the “politician of the year” can figure out who the baddies and the goodies are in this one? He as used everyone but the army to get his political will, so maybe they will be called in to protect our border and “mop up” in Manus? if it looks like , smells like and the AFP “raid” a TV Station And lawyers office; it is definitely fascism. Who voted for that?

  5. Steve777

    We can’t ‘offshore’ responsibility.

  6. klewso

    This government is outsourcing responsibility and accountability on everything.

  7. MJPC

    The USSR had Siberia, Australia has Manus Island for its gulags.
    Remove all copies of “The Great Escape” from the camp library now!

  8. Electric Lardyland

    One thing that seems to have gone missing in the last few months of reporting on the new detention regime, is this: detainees at Manus Island are supposed to be processed and then resettled in PNG; is this happening at all? While I often reach for the remote, as soon I hear Abbott or Morrison mouthing platitudes about Operation Sovereign Borders, I don’t think I have heard any reports of refugees being settled in mainland PNG. Has this actually been happening, and if so, have any of these people been asked what they think of this arrangement? Or have asylum seekers just been festering in Manus; getting incrementally more desperate and inexorably angrier?

  9. Matt Hardin

    Perhaps a Royal Commission? After all, one was announced into the whole union movement for much less.

  10. zut alors

    I’m also curious about the line on refugee advocates overstating claims of abuse. Says who? Any proof?

    And while we have this ugly & inhumane distraction Toady & Co are about to appoint Lord Downer to the plum job as High Commissioner in the UK. Hardly a day passes when I’m not left in some degree of dismay by this government.

    Not that Rudd/Gillard were any better in extending solace to desperate refugees.

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