How much are you, the Australian taxpayer, paying to keep desperate people in hellish camps indefinitely, where they are denied access to basic medical care, live in constant fear of regular rape and sexual abuse, and provided hope only that they might be released from their island prison and sent to a Third World country lacking in infrastructure and run by an authoritarian government whose own human rights abuses are well documented?

The answer, according to Monday's Senate committee hearing into the conditions in the asylum seeker detention centre in Nauru, is $645,726 per asylum seeker during an 11-month period, or almost $2000 a day. It would be vastly cheaper to give each asylum seeker free housing, enrol each one in public school, or even house each one in prison.