Aussie medical officer arrested in Nauru

Henrietta Strickland
October 19, 2018

Morrison was asked during parliamentary question time on Monday by the Victorian independent Cathy McGowan what it would take for the government to act with "compassion, mercy and justice to accept the offer of resettlement from New Zealand and have these children and their families off Nauru by Christmas".

Dr Nicole Montana, a senior medical officer for Australia's immigration processing centre on Nauru, was arrested last night on the island, according to media reports.

An IHMS spokeswoman told News Corp Dr Montana was stood down yesterday "for a breach of Regional Processing Centre rules".

The deportation of the Australian doctor also follows Medecins Sans Frontieres calling for urgent evacuations from the island, and sharing emotional and detailed analysis the mental health conditions of the asylum seekers and refugees on the island. A replacement was already on the island and "there has been no impact on the services provided to transferees", IHMS said.

He said the government would not transfer asylum seekers to New Zealand despite an offer from the government because "the advice of the government is people smugglers are marketing New Zealand as a destination, as a destination as a backdoor for Australia". MSF has then released a statement, saying it "strongly condemned" the Nauru's government for stopping its doctors from giving much-needed medical and mental health care.

They told The Herald Sun conditions on Nauru are at a "tipping point" and joined calls by thousands of Australian doctors for the children to be evacuated to Australia for medical care.

But refugees on Manus and Nauru who spoke to ten daily said they had no desire to travel to Australia, and would happily support any deal banning them from the country in exchange for being allowed into NZ.

Nearly 6000 doctors sign open letter to Prime Minister to remove children from the Nauru processing centre.

Mr Morrison said it was now up to the Opposition. The Government of Nauru forbids medical workers from photographing their patients to prevent leaks to the media and refugee advocates. The legislation has been stuck since November 2016.

Labor, the Greens and a slew of crossbenchers had vowed to oppose the bill in the Senate, meaning it was sure to fail and was never put to a vote.

The turnaround comes as Liberal MPs publicly speak out against the indefinite detention of families on Nauru and lobby Mr Morrison for immediate intervention.

The Centre Alliance party, which controls two crossbench votes, said it remained opposed to the bill as it now stood, but was willing to negotiate.

The conservative government is under mounting pressure to relax its five-year-old policy of banning asylum seekers who come by boat from ever settling in Australia.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison is considering support for Nauru refugees.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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