Scott Morrison defends Australia’s tough policies on asylum seekers

Scott Morrison defends Australia’s tough policies on asylum seekers

Scott Morrison defends Australia’s tough policies on asylum seekers

Written by Bella Dalima

22 Aug, 2014 | 6:54 pm

Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, defended his country’s tough policies on asylum seekers on Friday saying measures that include the detention of children and denial of permanent visas were needed to stop dangerous people-smuggling ventures.

Scott Morrison was giving evidence to an Australian Human Rights Commission inquiry into the well-being of children in immigration detention centres on the Australian mainland and on remote islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Strong sentiments from an embattled Minister who is under fire over his government’s treatment of asylum seekers.

Earlier in the week, the minister said he expected to release some 150 children aged under 10 from mainland detention centres, as well as a “large number” of the 1,547 in community detention in Australia.

But children held on offshore facilities on Christmas Island and Nauru who arrived after July 19, 2013 are excluded under Australia’s tough immigration policy.

Under the policy, the asylum-seekers are prevented from being resettled in Australia regardless of whether they are judged to be genuine refugees.

Morrison’s appearance before the inquiry comes after the Australian High Court yesterday, set a date for a full bench hearing into the government’s handling of 157 purportedly Sri Lankan asylum seekers who were detained at sea for weeks in June.

The expedited hearing is to be held on October 14 and 15 and will possibly see the involvement of the UN as well, according to lawyers for the asylum seekers.

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