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04 November 2018, 10:12 | Devin Moran
Facing heat, Australia to take children off Nauru by year-end
"Once people have received their medical assistance, then the expectation is that they will return to their country of origin", Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said today when asked about children being moved to Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the government has been "quietly" removing children from the island nation, telling reporters this week the number had halved over the past nine weeks.
"We are encouraged that politicians are finally starting to listen to the Australian people, many of whom have expressed disgust at the situation on Nauru".
Activists said there were now 38 children on the island.
"I haven't been showboating about it".
Outsourcing the initial announcement to former attorney-general George Brandis, Prime Minister Scott Morrison even went so far as to take credit for the quiet, dignified way in which he'd apparently organised evacuation of children to Australia. Anyone who attempts the journey is now sent to remote camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manu Island for processing.
On Thursday, he claimed criticism of poor living conditions among the would-be asylum seekers was offensive to the people of Nauru.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Dutton also warned that resettling refugees from Nauru in New Zealand would risk restarting the smuggling trade to Australia - where they would end up in Nauru, regardless of whether they have children.
"They can start by accepting New Zealand's offer to resettle eligible refugees". But after more than a year of screening, only 439 have found new homes there. "What is important is that durable solutions are found for families and children who have experienced persecution", Freyana Irani said.
"All doctors are really concerned that that level will get to the stage where suicidal ideation will become real, that we will either lose children through suicide or lose children through the Resignation Syndrome, where they become so profoundly depressed that they would rather be dead than continue the mental pain that they have at the moment".
The government fears that refugees could use New Zealand as a backdoor to Australia, since New Zealand citizens are free to live and work in Australia for as long as they like.
What is seen to have changed the Government's hardline position is the result of the Wentworth by-election with newly elected independent Kerryn Phelps listing as among her first priorities as a member of parliament was to get kids off Nauru.
"Let's not forget, this news is completely opposite to what the government has been saying was possible, and they are still continuing to fight medical transfer cases in the courts", Neumann said, referring to the government's opposition to allowing adult asylum seekers into Australia for medical treatment.
Refugees will be sent to the United States or resettled in other countries, Mr Dutton said.
Protesters at the "Kids off, everyone off; close Manus and Nauru".
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