Morrison didn't want to "leap ahead" of UN inquiry

IMMIGRATION Minister Scott Morrison claims there is an alternate version to this week's explosive allegation the government asked a psychiatrist to omit details from a report showing an alarming rate of mental health issues among asylum seeker children in detention.

He told ABC's Insiders program on Sunday that it was important not to "leap ahead" with conclusions before the Human Rights Commission inquiry finished.

"In these meetings there is always two sets of versions of what has occurred," he said.

"What they're working through is a process to get the best possible reporting of mental health in these facilities."

Peter Young, a former mental health director in immigration detention healthcare, gave evidence that a significant number of children in detention were emotionally distressed.

The inquiry heard about children swallowing detergent and other poisons and banging their heads against walls.

Dr Young told the inquiry that the department had asked him to "withdraw the figures from our report" in the previous two weeks.

Mr Morrison told the ABC he had two children of his own and he did not like seeing children in detention environments.

"But the policy is necessary," he said.

"The accommodation is air conditioned for children, there's play equipment, there's shaded areas for learning, there are covered areas air conditioned for the schooling.

"We have put considerable resources into Nauru to ensure it's fit for families.

"There are 450 less children in detention today than when I became minister.

"I still have 550-odd children who are in mainland detention and it is my job to get them all out as soon as I possibly can."

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said Mr Morrison had the power to release all children from detention and should do so immediately.

"The conditions are appalling, health experts are alarmed at the level of self harm ... attempted suicide and spiralling mental health concerns," she said.

Topics:  detention editors picks inquiry public relations refugee scott morrison united nations

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