Back in 2016, the US and Australia struck a deal for the US to take over 1,250 refugees which was signed by the Obama administration.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia called President Trump earlier this year to remind him of President Obama’s pledge, to which our President famously replied in the leaked phone transcripts: “Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become a dumping ground.”
“I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.”
Fast forward 10 months, President Trump has kept his word, the US has indeed not taken these refugees, Australia has by law (it lost a court case against a non-profit group) turned off the electricity in the camp with mostly Papua New Guinea refugees (which was repeatedly attacked by locals and hit with many riots inside it) who are now not wanting to move for fear of being aggressed by Australians.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The <a href="https://twitter.com/SatPaper?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SatPaper</a> has brief brutal brilliant op ed on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Manus?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Manus</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/asylumseeker?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#asylumseeker</a> shame. And handy phone numbers. Which I just called. <a href="https://t.co/PSRRx5Xxz1">pic.twitter.com/PSRRx5Xxz1</a></p>— Sian Prior (@sianprior) <a href="https://twitter.com/sianprior/status/926579282578567168?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 3, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Over the weekend, in view of damning press coverage in Australia about the inhumane conditions of these refugees now, there was an offer from the newly formed left-wing government of New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told her Australian counterpart that they would gladly accept 150 of those refugees, which Mr Turnbull has turned down, out of fear that such an acceptance would simply encourage more smugglers to ship a greater amount of asylum seekers to Australia.
Prime Minister Turnbull: "We will not have our immigration programme, our sovereignty, our borders outsourced to people smugglers."
Since the closure of the centre on 31 October as legally foreseen, the food, water, power and medical services were cut and the 600 refugees housed there are refusing to leave.
The Australian government wants to move them to facilities in the island's main town Lorengau at the expense of the Australian taxpayer, but the refugees fear more violent attacks by locals if they do so.