Written by Bella Dalima
31 Jul, 2014 | 7:32 pm
Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has said that the 157 asylum seekers who are in the Australian mainland will “never be resettled in Australia”
After over a month at a customs vessel, the asylum seekers, including at least 37 children, were transferred to the Curtin Detention Centre several days ago, breaking long-standing government policy.
In an interview with ABC networks, Australian Immigration Minister admitted that secret negotiations are underway with the Indian government, on the asylum seekers.
Excerpts of the interview.
Scott Morrison: [quote]
Now we are providing an opportunity for them to go back to India and they could make that request to Indian consular officials over the over the course of next week. Now, if advocates are telling them they shouldn’t talk to consular officials, then I question whether they are acting in their best interests. Because they will pass up that opportunity, it is rare for India to concede bringing back someone who is not a citizen.
Now they are prepared to do that, they told me, for humanitarian reasons and if advocates are going to deny that opportunity then where they end up will be very much a consequence of that decision… We discussed 3 options, one was that they could be taken to India where that process which I’ve talked about, their identity and so on, could be assessed, that was not accepted by India.
It could also be done on the ship and that was logistically difficult to get Indian consular officials to that ship and so in those circumstances we chose to do it this way. Now we’ll see how it goes, but if the outcome of this is that no one chooses to talk to Indian consular officials then the government’s policy is very clear and they will go to offshore processing and that’s where their claims will be assessed.
They will never ever be resettled in Australia and that will be the outcome and nor will they be able to go back to India again.[/quote]
Journalist: Let me just make the question very clear Mr. Morrison, did you consider sending them back to Sri Lanka?
Scott Morrison: [quote]There was no attempt during the course of that past month, there was no discussion with the Government of Sri Lanka about people on that voyage going back to Sri Lanka and I will tell you why, that voyage did not come from Sri Lanka.[/quote]
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