Director of the Edmund Rice Centre and President of the Refugee Council of Australia Phil Glendenning has called on Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten to end the political impasse and bring the people on Manus Island and Nauru to safety in Australia, in light of reports that President Donald Trump is "still considering" whether the US-Australia refugee resettlement deal will proceed.
“The ongoing confusion about the future of this arrangement requires urgent leadership from Australia’s politicians,” Mr Glendenning said.
“It’s time to end the political games and bring the people on Manus Island and Nauru to safety.
“Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten have this week used speeches to the National Press Club to talk about political leadership. However, there is no greater measure of the failure of political leadership in this country than the failure to respond with compassion and humanity on this issue.
“We know that the only thing stopping people on Manus and Nauru from being brought to safety in Australia is endless bickering between Governments and Oppositions on the issue of immigration. It’s gone on for 15 years and it has to stop.
“There are over 21 million refugees worldwide and the international community is facing the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War Two. In this context, it is beyond embarrassing that our leaders have played politics over the lives of 1,500 people on Manus and Nauru.
“The ongoing uncertainty about the resettlement arrangement is only making life worse for the people on Nauru and Manus who have already suffered so much.
“Since 2013 there have been four deaths in offshore detention, including one unresolved murder and thousands of asylum seekers have suffered from physical, psychological and sexual harm.
“People have suffered for too long. The political games have gone on for too long. Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten must put an end to the partisanship and urgently bring these people to safety,” Mr Glendenning concluded.
Contact: Phil Glendenning 0419 013 758