Thursday, 7 December 2017
West Lorengau Haus; Order for the Production of Documents
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 662 standing in my name for today relating to an order for the production of documents relating to correspondence involving West Lorengau Haus, before asking that it be taken as a formal motion.
I, and also behalf of Senator McKim, move the motion as amended.
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre was formally shutdown on 31 October 2017,
(ii) more than 600 men refused to leave the centre, for reasons including fears for their safety, and were forcibly removed on 24 November 2017,
(iii) the detainees were transferred to the expanded East Lorengau Refugee Transit Centre and West Lorengau Haus, with non-refugees housed at Hillside Haus,
(iv) from the time of the processing centre’s closure, until at least 17 November 2017, a number of media reports, photographs and eyewitness accounts indicated the accommodation at West Lorengau Haus – meant to house up to 300 men – was still incomplete, and
(v) according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and media reports, West Lorengau Haus had intermittent power and water and incomplete security fencing up to mid-November
(b) further notes that:
(i) during supplementary Budget estimates in October 2017, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection advised that the Government’s contract with the International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) would be extended to 28 February 2018,
(ii) refugee advocates have raised concerns about what appears to be a reduced level of medical and health services provided to detainees during this transition period,
(iii) the Australian Medical Association has asked the Government to allow its doctors to treat detainees on the island, but its offer has been rejected by the Government, and
(iv) Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) has also called for access to the men in the transit centres, expressing concern the medical and psychological needs of the men are not being met; and
(c) orders that there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, by the start of business 9 am on 20 December 2017:
(i) any correspondence with contractors, reports, memos or photographs relating to the progress of the construction of West Lorengau Haus accommodation, fencing and essential services, made since 1 October 2017 until 6 December 2017,
(ii) any correspondence between the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and its contractors seeking extensions of time or budget to deliver the accommodation, security or essential services at West Lorengau Haus, or regarding difficulties in providing agreed services,
(iii) the parts of any existing contract, MOU, letter of intent or agreement made with IHMS, with regard to the health and medical services to be provided to detainees, including the type of services to be provided, the specialities (such as psychiatric, general practice, counselling, etc) to be made available at each of the three facilities and the number of practitioners within each, provision of medication, hours to be worked, and the range and limits of responsibilities to be exercised by practitioners,
(iv) any variations, in respect of paragraph (c)(iii), to the previous contract or agreement,
(v) the parts of any existing contract, MOU, letter of intent, memo or agreement made with Palladin, with regard to the services to be provided, the timeframes in which they are to be provided, obligations on staff, and any requirement or prohibition on using or allowing access to external service providers (such as MSF),
(vi) any variations, in respect of paragraph (c)(v), to the previous contract or agreements,
(vii) the parts of any existing contract, MOU, letter of intent, memo or agreement made with the following providers, with regard to the range and quality of services to be provided, the timeframes in which they are to be provided, any requirement or prohibition to use local subcontractors: JOA Wokman, Toll Group and NKW, and
(viii) any variations, in respect of paragraph (c)(vii), to previous contracts or agreements.
The government does not support this motion. Advocates in Australia continue to make inaccurate claims about the facilities on Manus Island. Alternative accommodation has been available to house all inhabitants of the former regional processing centre since 31 October. The Papua New Guinea-operated alternative accommodation provides them with food, water, security and medical services.
The coalition government's strong and consistent border protection policies, including offshore processing, have saved countless lives. Advocates who continue to agitate against the government's policies are acting against the best interests of asylum seekers, including those on Manus Island. The coalition government's policies will not change.