Manus death considered a new low for policy
REFUGEE support groups fear more people will die before Australia scraps the Manus Island detention centre where 77 people were injured and one man died on Monday night.
Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer said yesterday it was inevitable that tensions would explode.
He said people were being locked up without being charged, children had been locked up and deprived an education and babies had been taken from their mothers.
"There was always going to be an explosion,'' Mr Palmer said.
"This is a sad day for Australia and for all veterans who fought against tyranny in the Second World War to stop people being placed in detention and interment.''
The 500 members of the Sunshine Coast-based Buddies refugee support group will petition politicians to close the centre and adopt a more humane approach to refugees.
Spokeswoman Lindell Greggery said Australia had reached a new low in its treatment of refugees.
Police and Papua New Guinea residents used guns, clubs and machetes to attack refugees after two days of disturbances at the centre.
Two men, one with gunshot wounds and the other with a fractured skull, have been brought to Australia for treatment.
"Just when you think it can't get any worse, it does,'' Ms Greggery said
"Mr Morrison (Immigration Minister) speaks about staff protecting infrastructure. People are at the bottom of the list.
"Australia wants admission on to the UN Security Council but can't uphold its UN refugee obligations.
"What Mr Morrison will not say is that 90% of asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat are found to be genuine refugees.
"Their claims aren't being processed on Manus Island. You must live in PNG for eight years before you can apply for citizenship."
Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition said that he had spoken with workers and refugees on Manus Island and their relatives.
All were saying the same thing, that locals supported by police had attacked the refugees.
"The minister has shrugged off as a tragic death a murder and attempted murder that have occurred on his watch,'' he said.
"There is huge international interest in this.''
Mr Rintoul predicts that local pressure rather than a change of policy in Australia would lead to the eventual closure of Manus Island detention centre.
"Morrison will find it hard to send more refugees there. PNG may refuse to take more and may decide not to renew the lease," he said.
He predicted that pressure would grow through both state Labor conferences and through the unions to alter ALP policy.