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.