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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Nauru and Manus Island full

The result of Labor's asylum seeker policy has descended into a state of sheer panic.  Manus and Nauru are already full and nowhere near ready.  The two centres have a capacity for 2100 refugees but in the four weeks since the government announced their new policy, 2180 people have arrived.

It's clear they have no idea of what to do.  Their only option is to keep some refugees and send others offshore, but nobody knows what the criterion might be.  Minister Chris Bowen says that children must be sent off shore to prove to people smugglers that they are not excluded from the new rules.

We now have some cost figures.  A $24.5 million contract has been awarded to Transfield to run the centre for six months and International Health and Medical Services have a $22 million contract to provide medical and psychological services, also for a period of six months.

Minister Bowen says work on Manus Island can't begin yet until "certain logistical issues" are sorted out.

Last night on ABC's 7.30, Tony Abbott said "When will the government admit that unless it also adopts Temporary Protection Visas and turning back the boats where it's safe to do so, the people smugglers will still have a product to sell and the boats will still keep coming?"

An Immigration spokesman said that extra Federal Police will be on hand to make sure refugees board the plane to Nauru later this week, without incident.