Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull affirms that the refugee detainees in Manus Island will not be allowed to resettle in both Australia and New Zealand in the wake of the decision made by the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court.
“They will not come to Australia — that is absolutely clear and the PNG Government knows that,” Turnbull declared. “I look forward to discussions with the PNG Government, but there will be no transfer of those individuals to Australia.”
The prime minister also highlighted the Labor government’s track record of handling refugees, citing “50,000 unauthorized arrivals” and “thousands of deaths at sea,” according to ABC News.
“We cannot be misty-eyed about this,” he said. “We have to be very clear and determined in our national purpose. We must have secure borders and we do and we will, and they will remain so, as long as I am the Prime Minister of this country.”
Turnbull also ruled out refugees settling in New Zealand because people smugglers will see it “a marketing opportunity.”
“We can’t afford to let the empathy that we feel for the desperate circumstances that many people find themselves in, to cloud our judgment. Our national security has to come first,” the prime minister said, according to Business Insider Australia.
Turnbull is not the only person who has been adamant that refugees will not be allowed to settle in, as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton also expressed his disapproval about the matter.
Dutton revealed that the Australian government expected the PNG government’s decision for months, but will coordinate with them about whether to settle the detainees in third world countries or send them back home.
After the ruling, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill proclaimed that the regional processing center where the detainees are currently being held would be shut down and ordered Australia to close it immediately.