12 Aug 2016

Nauru abuse reports are "hype" - Australia minister

3:20 pm on 12 August 2016

Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has been accused of a crude, offensive attempt to divert attention from abuses in the offshore detention camps on Nauru.

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (L) and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop address journalists during a press conference in Nusa Dua, Bali on March 23, 2016.

Australian immigration mininster, Peter Dutton, says people do have a motivation to make a false complaint. Photo: AFP/Sonny Tumbelaka

Earlier this week over two-thousand documents were leaked, outlining allegations of assault and cruelty at the centre, encompassing cases of sexual assault of detainees, including children.

In response, Mr Dutton has accused some asylum seekers on Nauru of making false claims of abuses, describing the leaked documents as "hype".

The Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul said the abuses are well established and Mr Dutton has cast the worst kind of aspersions on the asylum seekers and refugees.

"I think, particularly, it was outrageous when Dutton suggested that people self-immolated in an attempt to get to Australia. It's just such complete nonsense. It's very ugly nonsense coming from Peter Dutton."

He said the latest leaks simply substantiated what has been revealed beyond doubt in earlier reports, including the government-commissioned Moss Report in early 2015.

"It was the government's own review, and in spite of what they thought was going to be the outcome of that, Moss said the reports were true," said Mr Rintoul.

"Peter Dutton knows the reports are true; Malcolm Turnbull knows the reports about what's happening on Nauru are true, and yet they are choosing to turn a blind eye, trying to divert attention from the horrors that they've actually created there."

Minister Dutton had earlier said he wouldn't tolerate any sexual abuse whatsoever but described the Nauru papers as "hype".

"If people have done the wrong thing, whether it's security guards, whether it's people in our employ directly or elsewhere then there's a price to pay for that," he said.

"But bear in mind that some people do have a motivation to make a false complaint and we have had instances where people have self harmed in an effort to get to Australia and I'm not going to tolerate that behaviour either."

Commemoration on Nauru for Iranian man who died after setting himself ablaze

Commemoration on Nauru for Iranian man who died after setting himself ablaze Photo: supplied Refugee Action Coalition

While there had been renewed calls for Australia to close its detention centres abroad, Australia insisted that none of the people seeking asylum after arriving by boat would be allowed to enter Australia.

Anyone arriving without authorisation in Australia, including children, is put into mandatory detention.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs