The first plane load of thirty asylum seekers sent to Nauru is settling into tent accommodation.
While the Government says the first transfer from Christmas Island went smoothly the Greens have questioned the arrangement.
Sam Canavan reports.
These Sri Lankan men have drawn the detainment short straw shipped to Nauru under the rebooted Pacific Solution.
There was a heavy Federal Police presence, in case the men resisted, but the transfer went off without a hitch.
Chris Bowen, Immigration Minister: “Obviously this a very significant step, the message is very clear; if you arrive in Australia by boat you can be taken from Australia by aeroplane.”
The detainees will endure tent housing until more permanent facilities are ready.
Tony Burke, Environment Minister: “There’s no way of sugar-coating this; it is tough.”
The Opposition welcomed the transfer, but warned the boats would continue coming unless the Howard Government’s reforms are re-introduced in full.
Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “My fear is that this Government’s heart just isn’t in it.”
2,400 asylum seekers have come to Australia since the introduction of offshore processing, it’s unclear how many will be relocated to Nauru.
Chris Bowen, Immigration Minister: “I’m not going to provide a running commentary, in advance, of who will be sent where.”
The Greens want to know how long the men will be held on the Pacific Island under the ALP’s so-called ‘no disadvantage test’.
Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens Senator: “An acute analysis of somebody who waits for asylum in Malaysia could be decades.”
Sam Canavan, QUT News.