19 Jan 2016

NZ offers 'something Australia chooses not to give'

8:48 pm on 19 January 2016

A group of Nauru-based refugees seeking to be resettled in New Zealand have taken aim at Australia's human rights record and treatment of indigenous people.


Nauru Photo: AFP

The refugees have continued a plea to be shifted to New Zealand - a move that could have occurred if Australia followed through on a two-year deal signed by former prime minister Julia Gillard to resettle 300 refugees, potentially including those on Nauru and Manus Island.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott quashed the plan after taking government in 2013, but refugees are calling on current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to revisit the idea.

A letter written by the refugees and sent to Mr Turnbull's office said Australia "does not even respect the rights of your own Aboriginal people".

They also said they had no plans to move to Australia if they were granted asylum in New Zealand.

"If we were settled in a country like New Zealand, which respects human rights and allowed us to build a future there, why would we want to uproot ourselves again to come to Australia," the letter asks.

"The Australian Government has ignored the UN reports and recommendations and its own Human Rights Commission."

The refugees claim they have been "treated with cruelty and contempt" by Australian workers on Nauru.

"We have been brutalised and scarred. Our rights have been denied by (Julia) Gillard, (Kevin) Rudd, (Tony) Abbott, (Tony) Burke, (Scott) Morrison and (Peter) Dutton," they said.

The letter, which follows correspondence sent to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key earlier this month, also asks Mr Turnbull to speak with the New Zealand government "because they can offer us something that Australian politicians choose not to give".