Scott Morrison's blunt message to asylum seekers
Immigration minister tells asylum seekers in this official video that even if they were found to be genuine refugees, they "will never live in Australia".PT3M3S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3avcj 620 349 June 26, 2014
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he makes no apologies for an assertive video telling asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru that they will never be resettled in Australia and should consider returning home.
Mr Morrison said the video, which was shown as an "orientation message" to new arrivals in offshore detention centres, was recorded after his first visit to Papua New Guinea and Nauru in September.
It mirrors the same message the minister personally delivered to the asylum seekers at the centre, Mr Morrison told Fairfax Media.
“I make no apologies for being up front about the reality of the situation that transferees were now faced with. This is in stark contrast to the lies told to them by people smugglers and the false hope being peddled by others who claimed the government would not follow through with our policies," he said.
In the video Morrison warns asylum seekers: “If you choose not to go home then you will spend a very, very long time here and so I urge you to think carefully about that decision and make a decision to get on with the rest of your life.”
But despite criticism, Mr Morrison defends it saying the purpose of the video was to send "a clear and consistent message about the strong resolve and policy of the new government."
“The video sets out clearly and honestly the options available to those who had been brought to Manus Island and Nauru, including that their claims would be processed and if found to be a refugee they would be resettled, but not in Australia," Mr Morrison said.
The video, initially obtained by Guardian Australia, also shows Mr Morrison saying if asylum seekers want to return home, they can raise their requests with officials from the International Organisation of Migration.
Fairfax Media revealed that the Abbott government has dramatically increased the amount of money being offered to asylum seekers to go home to their country of origin - including war-torn countries Syria and Iraq. It is understood Lebanese asylum seekers are being offered $10,000 to leave the centre, while Iraqis are being offered $6000.
Both the video and increased payments being offered to asylum seekers are the latest tactics being used by the Abbott government to cement its hardline stance against asylum seekers who come to Australia without a visa.
Greens Senator and immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said: "Vulnerable asylum seekers are being presented with the worst of two evils, either return to the horrors from which you fled or suffer in the camps of cruelty."
"What is clear now is that there is nothing voluntary about these returns, it is clear coercion."