Offshore detention “bribes” demand Royal Commission

In response to the explosive revelation that Australia’s Department of Home Affairs oversaw the payment of millions of taxpayer dollars to powerful Pacific Island politicians to maintain controversial offshore asylum seeker processing centres, Amnesty International Refugee Rights Advisor Graham Thom says:

“For years, Amnesty International Australia has sounded the alarm on the obscene sums of public money funnelled to corporations like Broadspectrum, Canstruct and Paladin for Australia’s cruel offshore detention regime.”

“What we didn’t know, because of the extraordinary secrecy surrounding Australia’s refugee policies, is that the same corporations were allegedly funnelling these taxpayer dollars into the coffers of politicians in Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Nauru as they considered whether to maintain Australia’s offshore detention contracts.”

“This gross misuse of taxpayer money to politically prop up Australia’s cruel offshore detention regime was kept secret from the public.”

“These revelations of an Australian department overseeing potential bribes to foreign government officials warrant an investigation of the highest order. Amnesty International Australia backs calls for a Royal Commission into Australia’s offshore detention policies.”

“Only a Royal Commission will have the power to compel the production of commercial-in-confidence documents necessary for investigation, and can provide the protection for witnesses and whistleblowers to give evidence that will be essential to understanding the extent of these revelations.”

“The new Labor government says that the detention centres have closed, but Australia’s offshore detention shame has not ended. More than 70 men still remain stranded in Papua New Guinea. They must be immediately brought to Australia until a durable solution can be found.”

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