Offshore detention deterrent narrative challenged

11:04 am on 26 October 2018

A former employee of Australia's Department of Home Affairs has written to MPs calling for all refugees and asylum seekers in offshore detention to be resettled in Australia.

No caption

Photo: supplied

The Conversation reports the letter from Shaun Hanns argues the policy of offshore detention is based on the unfounded belief that it deters people smuggling.

Mr Hanns said he spent five years interviewing asylum seekers as a protection obligations decision maker.

He said Australia's naval cordon has been effective in preventing people smuggling boats from Indonesia, and that turning back the boats is a greater deterrent to asylum seekers considering the journey than the lack of resettlement options in Australia.

Its estimated between 1200 and 1500 people are currently exiled on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

The Australian government maintains the narrative that resettling refugees from offshore detention would encourage dangerous people smuggling operations and promote deaths at sea.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs