Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed that the Australian government would reopen its controversial offshore detention centre on Christmas Island
The move will step up the conservative administration’s hardline policies towards asylum seekers and refugees in an immediate response to a historic defeat over the issue in parliament.
Morrison on Wednesday approved the reopening of the remote facility – closed only months ago – claiming the law passed would increase the number of people seeking asylum and protection in Australia by sea.
The legislation allows refugees and asylum seekers held in existing offshore camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island to travel to Australia for medical treatment on the diagnosis of two doctors.
It is the first time in 80 years that an Australian government had lost a vote on its own legislation in the lower house. The bill passed the upper house on Wednesday morning.
Morrison accused the opposition Australian Labor Party of a bid to “weaken and compromise its borders” and said he was adopting “100 percent” a series of security service recommendations on measures to prevent the arrival of migrants and asylum seekers by sea.
ALJAZEERA/ ANA BONI