'It's a very pleasant island': Conservatives push back against bid to take children off Nauru

Coalition conservatives led by former prime minister Tony Abbott are pushing back against moves to bring refugee children and their families from Nauru to Australia, as views soften in the government about getting minors off the island.


'They were offering false hope': Kerryn Phelps accuses government of breaking byelection vows

"I think most people in Wentworth and Australia got the impression the government was going to accept the New Zealand offer and now it appears that this is not happening," she said.

"I would again encourage the government to listen to the serious concerns of the medical profession. The government really must take heed of the people of Australia that they are supposed to be representing."


Nauru kids could be in limbo because of security fears about parents

As the Morrison government and Labor continue to joust over the best way to move people - in particular the 52 children left on Nauru - off the two Pacific islands, some refugee lawyers and experts have raised concerns that rejection by the US means it will be harder for people to be accepted by other countries such as New Zealand.


Early warnings of child mental health crisis on Nauru fell on deaf ears, health experts say

Background Briefing has obtained dozens of mental health assessments completed by child refugees and asylum seekers on the island and their parents.


Listen to Background Briefing podcast here


Nauru: Politicians cannot ignore community concern forever

The 11 children came to Australia with 16 family members on the advice of medical experts on Nauru who approved their transfer. In a departure from the past few years, this was done at the discretion of Immigration Minister David Coleman rather than a clash in the Federal Court.

You might never know this from listening to the Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, who wanted to tell question time about the hard line on boats coming from Indonesia rather than the softer approach on flights from Nauru.


Liberal MP Julia Banks slams the government for 'political game-playing' over refugees

Full text: 'It is our humanitarian obligation to remove children and their families from Nauru'

Julia Banks in parliament this afternoon:

“We could have made progress this week with the New Zealand solution, but the parties are too concerned to not back down on their position to make concessions so that we can find a solution.

“The message will be clear – a solution to this situation that it is a one off act of grace, a humanitarian decision. A decision that comes from our hearts but our minds will ensure that we have the capacity to ensure we maintain our secure borders.

“Just as nothing surpasses the unconditional love a parent has for their child, nothing should be stopping or delaying our getting these sick children, and their families, off Nauru.

“I ask members of this House to see this situation through the prism of a child’s years, not in adult’s years. Because childhood is fleeting. The time period of a month is enormous in a child’s world.

“In the past months, the political games and distractions of both parties have disgracefully played out in this place and in the meantime the situation on Nauru with sick children has reached a crisis point.

“There is no more noble profession, than that of the health care professional. The Hippocratic oath contains the element of ‘do no harm’.

We as a parliament should be grateful that in this same time period of the past few months, when these children and their families voices were drowned out by the game playing and the delay of the New Zealand option, we have thousands of doctors, the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Law Council of Australia, UNICEF, UNHCR, all gave voice to these children.

For all the political games in this place, on Monday, this place, saw that across the political divide, Australians have good hearts.

“Our country, overwhelmingly on Monday, committed to keeping children safe. Children are citizens of the world and the children on Nauru are our ultimate responsibility.

“Long term indefinite detention is no place for any child. It is wrong to say these children and their families are not detained.

“Sure they are not behind bars and they can walk about, but the will, especially the will of a parent with a sick child, wanting help, is a detention of their mind and their spirit.

“I know there are many MPs on both sides of this House, across this House, who share my concern and compassion. But many are constrained, by the machinery that gos with belonging to a major party.

“The major parties should put political point scoring, horse trading, combative politics and trying to think of the next clever wedge, or worse, trying to work out how, in the words of that wise man who didn’t attend the national apology, ‘to make MPs themselves or their respective parties look good’.

“Despite all the political games, this issue comes down to a simple truth – it is our humanitarian obligation to get these children and their families off Nauru.

I heard today from the head of the UNHCR that when he was in Nauru, a little girl asked him ‘why am I in prison’ he then tried to engage in dialogue with this little girl and when he asked her name, she immediately recited a number.

That little girl has a name. That little girl has a life. And she is living in child years.

Let us as a country, not to have to apologise to this little girl and the other children in Nauru in years to come.


Urgent hearings over sick refugee children thrown into doubt

Urgent court hearings that decide if dangerously ill refugee children should be flown to Australia have been thrown into doubt after the government challenged the Federal Court's ability to order humanitarian evacuations.

In an unprecedented move, the Morrison government has questioned the Federal Court's authority to commence cases that allow sick children to be brought to Australia for emergency medical care.


Former Home Affairs officer calls for all refugees to be brought to Australia