Australia’s decision to sign a new agreement with Nauru to establish “an enduring regional processing capability in Nauru” has been met with opprobrium from those who were detained there, and refugee advocates who say it is deliberately damaging to those held there.
There are currently around 108 people held by Australia on Nauru as part of its offshore processing regime. Most have been there more than eight years. About 125 people are still held in Papua New Guinea.
Myo Win, a human rights activist and Rohingyan refugee from Myanmar, who was formerly detained on Nauru and released in March 2021, said those who remain held within Australia’s regime on Nauru “are just so tired, separated from family, having politics played with their lives, it just makes me so upset”.
“I am out now and I still cannot live my life on a bridging visa and in lockdown, but it is 10 times better than Nauru. They should not be extending anything, they should be stopping offshore processing now. I am really worried about everyone on Nauru right now, they need to be released.”
Jana Favero from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said the new MOU only extended a “failed system”.
An ‘enduring regional processing capability’ in Nauru means: enduring suffering, enduring family separation, enduring uncertainty, enduring harm and Australia’s enduring shame.
“The Morrison government must give the men, women and children impacted by the brutality of offshore processing a safe and permanent home. Prolonging the failure of offshore processing on Nauru and PNG is not only wrong and inhumane but dangerous.”
Australia’s minister for home affairs, Karen Andrews, and the president of Nauru, Lionel Rouwen Aingimea, issued a joint statement Friday afternoon.
Andrews thanked the president for his commitment to “stamping out” people smuggling:
This is a significant step for both our countries and I thank president Aingimea for his ongoing commitment to regional leadership in stamping out the threat of maritime people smuggling.
Aingimea said the memorandum extended the bilateral agreement already in place since 2012, but will create an “enduring form of offshore processing”.
This takes the regional processing to a new milestone. It is enduring in nature, as such the mechanisms are ready to deal with illegal migrants immediately upon their arrival in Nauru from Australia.
Pfizer has confirmed 9m doses will arrive in October, Lt Gen John Frewen says
The head of the vaccine rollout, Lt Gen John Frewen, has revealed this afternoon that Pfizer has now given the commonwealth the details of the doses it will supply in October and confirmed that despite a warning to national cabinet on Friday about possible shortages, states and territories will get more Pfizer in October than September.
Frewen said the problem was that “normally Pfizer will contact and provide confirmed monthly allocations on a week-by-week basis”.
“Pfizer contacted us last week and was only able to provide the first two-week allocation at that point in time – it was to do with global distribution management issues with Pfizer. They’ve now come through, confirming the third week for us and assured us we’ll get our full quota in October.”
Asked why national cabinet figures suggested allocated supplies of Pfizer would fall from 10.9m in September to 8.4m in October, Frewen said:
“At that stage we only had the first two weeks, and what we received in the first two weeks was half of what we were anticipating in the first two weeks but, as I’ve said, Pfizer have now said they’ll make up the full allocation across weeks three and we expect week four.”
So what does that mean for Pfizer supplies? Frewen said:
We are receiving the 9m doses that we expect in October, that is the assurance we have had, there will be 9m doses of Pfizer in each month for the rest of the year. We will get 2m doses of Moderna this month and then we are expecting 3m doses of Moderna for the rest of the year as well.”
A police officer has just been filmed restraining a protestor in Northcote. A small scuffle has broken out, with shouts of “film that” and “get back”.
Riot police have arrived on the scene, though the crowd appears to have mostly dispersed.