It’s costing the Australian tax-payer more than $350,000 per month to hold a single refugee in immigration detention on Nauru. Yes that’s right, $350,000 per month, or nearly $4.3m per year, for just one refugee at a time there’s more than 100 asylum seekers and refugees on the island, many detained for over 8 years, bringing the total to about $1.7bn.
Just imagine if this Government had such dogged commitment to caring for people, rather than persecuting them. Just imagine this sort of cash going instead to healthcare, education, public housing, increased pensions and payments and more homecare packages. And that’s just the start of my list.
Mind you it’s obviously not the financial, but the human cost that many Australians find particularly devastating. Remember these young men on Nauru have been locked up for years, in appalling conditions, and separated from their family simply because they were fleeing for their lives and asked Australia to protect them.
I’ve said countless times in this place but need to say it again; that Australia has a legal and moral obligation to protect people claiming to be fleeing persecution, to quickly hear their claims and to provide permanent refuge if their claims are upheld.
That’s what’s needed Deputy Speaker, that’s what a government with integrity would do, and do now.