Australia to reopen Christmas Island detention centre

Labor leader Bill Shorten has expressed that if Labor wins the 2019 election they would establish a special prosecutor position to head a corporate crime taskforce in response to the Hayne royal commission...

The new law only applies to the 1,000 people now on Manus Island and Nauru but Mr Morrison hedged when asked to confirm this fact on Wednesday, saying people smugglers did not care about the "nuance" of the law.

"This is a government that's run out of ideas".

"With the last few children leaving Nauru and the provision of adequate medical care now in sight, we are hopefully witnessing an end to the race to the bottom on refugee policy", said Mr Glendenning.

If approved, the person will be brought to the detention camp on Christmas Island, which is an Australian territory closer to Indonesia than the mainland, for treatment.

When the sitting government last lost a vote on substantive legislation in 1929, then Prime Minister Stanley Bruce immediately called an election, and lost it.

Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke has also told the coalition Labor will not pair MPs - a practice when opposition MPs sit out votes when a government member can't make it - in certain instances, to ensure numbers are even.

"My job now is to ensure that the boats don't come", he said.

The amendments to the bill were introduced in Parliament back in December.

Kon Karapanagiotidis from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said the Government was trying to "whip up hysteria and fear-mongering", ignoring the fact the new laws applied only to the existing cohort of refugees.

The people smuggling boat traffic has all but stopped in the past five years with the government promising that any refugees who arrive on Australian shores by boat will never be allowed to settle there.

Labor representatives said it was about "doing the right thing", and the vote provoked cheers from asylum-seeker activists in parliament's public gallery.

The government says the Christmas Island re-start will cost about $1.4 billion over four years. The Christmas Island center has been described as a high-security prison where the unlucky "boaters" are forced to cohabitate with hardened criminals, including rapists. It was the scene of violent protests, with detainees denouncing harsh conditions.

Because it was the most prison-like of Australia's immigration centres, Christmas Island had been repurposed in recently years to house foreign criminals who had completed sentences in Australian jails and were fighting deportation. Then, the Home Affairs Minister, who used to have the final say on the matter, will have 72 hours to deliver his verdict.

"I'm standing between people smugglers and bringing a boat to Australia", he said.

Vanessa Coleman

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