Tampa Six years on: report confirms the ‘price too high’

A new report released on the eve of Tampa Day, six years after the incident that defined the Australian government’s disgraceful new approach to asylum seekers, confirms the enormous human and financial cost of the extreme and brutal ‘Pacific Solution’, according to Democrats Immigration spokesperson, Senator Andrew Bartlett.

The report compiled by Oxfam and A Just Australia, titled A Price Too High: the cost of Australia’s approach to asylum seekers , was released today.

Senator Bartlett has made 4 visits to the Australian-funded detention centre in Nauru – the only Parliamentarian to do so – as well as visits to Christmas Island and all Australia’s onshore detention facilities.

“Taxpayers are still being duped by off-shore processing, Australia’s legal system and human rights record continue to be degraded and most importantly thousands of genuine refugees have been brutalised and damaged for partisan political purposes,” Senator Bartlett said.

“Pauline Hanson would be proud. Her legacy of prejudice, fear and division adopted wholehearted by our government is responsible for the unnecessary and inhuman suffering of thousands of innocent people.

“A Price Too High tells the tragic story of our nation’s policy towards those fleeing persecution, many who now, after years of being locked up in our detention centres, are trying to rebuild their lives as part of the Australian community.

“This report highlights the obscene amount of taxpayers’ money, some $1 billion, going into processing fewer than 1,700 asylum seekers in offshore locations – more than half a million dollars per person spent for politically motivated purposes. And the costs don’t end there. These people have been denied proper access to essential legal, medical and community support as a result of the government’s offshore detention policy and as a result the taxpayer will be continuing to pay for this abominable policy for many decades to come.

“There is no end to this crazed waste of public funds, with the building of a maximum security, state of the art detention centre on Christmas Island that will be almost empty from day one.

“The ongoing cost of the government’s policy is way too high, economically and socially, as well as seriously impeding any common sense, humane solutions to the global problem of refugee flows. Six years after Tampa we should be looking at better ways of treating those fleeing persecution that will cause less harm to asylum seekers and be less financially onerous to the taxpayer,” Senator Bartlett said.

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