Government agrees to pay Manus Island detainees $70m

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The Federal Government has agreed to a $70 million settlement after a landmark class action lawsuit brought by Manus Island detainees.

The group of 1905 asylum seekers alleged that the Government failed to uphold its duty of care leading to physical and psychological harm in the detention centre between 2012 and 2016.

While the detainees were held on Manus Island there was a riot in the centre that resulted in the death of a detainee and there were serious injuries suffered by other detainees.

The asylum seekers claimed that they were falsely imprisoned in the camp after Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court last year ruled that their detention was illegal.

A trial in the Victorian Supreme Court against the Commonwealth and security companies Transfield and G4S, which had been delayed for several months, was due to start yesterday and had been expected to run for six months.

Law firm Slater and Gordon, which ran the class action, believed it to have been the largest immigration detention trial ever in Australia.

In a statement, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said settling the case was considered a more prudent option than going ahead with an anticipated six-month trial expected to cost tens of millions of dollars in legal fees alone.

As well as the $70 million payout to detainees, the Government will also pay $20 million in legal costs.

The class action was led by 35-year-old Iranian man Majid Karami Kamasaee, who was detained on Manus Island for 11 months from September 2013, and remains in a Melbourne detention centre.

Mr Kamasaee claimed he was persecuted by Iranian authorities for converting to Christianity, and that he had to flee the country under threat of being jailed for his religious beliefs.

He attempted to reach Australia by boat from Indonesia but it was intercepted by the Navy and he was transferred to the offshore processing centre.

Read more at abc.net.au

Opinion: Off-shore detention nothing but a waste of money

The Government’s $70 million settlement for detainees at Manus Island works out at just under $37,000 per detainee. That might seem a lot, but it is a drop in the ocean when you consider that it costs $573,100 per year to house just one detainee according to an Audit Office report. To put that in perspective, it costs almost as much to house one asylum seeker in an off-shore detention centre for a fortnight than to pay someone on the single Aged Pension for one year!

Housing an asylum seekers on shore costs less than half of the off-shore cost, around $200,000 per detainee per year. The savings the Government could make by ditching off-shore detention centres would run into the billions of dollars, around $2.9 billion by some estimates.

What is more, there is significantly less chance of legal action if centres are run by Australian staff and subject to Australian regulations and oversight.

If some of the money saved by ending off-shore detention was reinvested into the processing of asylum seeker application we could also speed up the assessment process and make sure people were detained for shorter periods of time, which could end up saving even more money.

Speeding up the assessment process has other advantages, allowing refugees to start contributing to society sooner and reducing the mental health problems many suffer after years of incarceration.

There are very sound reasons for increasing our refugee intake. Consider that Germany takes in around one million per year compared to Australia’s 13,750. Instead of Germany asking its citizens to work until later in life to deal with its ageing population, as we are doing in Australia, its intake of refugees ensures an increase in the number of citizens in the right age profile so the economy continues to grow at a healthy rate.

What do you think? Has the Government’s $70 million payout convinced you that the days of off-shore processing are over? Do you think the Government should have gone to court rather than settle beforehand? Or do you think that this settlement shows that the Government had doubts about winning in court?

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Written by Ben

248 Comments

Total Comments: 248
  1. 0
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    That 35-year-old Iranian man attempted to reach Australia by boat from Indonesia but the Navy intercepted it and he was transferred to the offshore processing centre. Quite rightly, because his first country of landing was Indonesia where should have applied for refugee asylum. That’s what the Human Rights charter states – the first country of landing. Not the country of your ‘cherry picking’- Anyway, at least with that amount of compensation he should not qualify for Australian welfare should he be allowed into Australia –

  2. 0
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    What a load of garbage. detainees dont work. look at Germany now its stuffed & people want Aus to go the same way. get real

    • 0
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      Germany, France, Sweden,Belgium,Denmark, the UK, Austria, Italy, Greece all overrun with muslims. Western Europe is in steep decline and the same is happening right before our own eyes in Australia.

      NO TO ISLAM IN AUSTRALIA.

    • 0
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      In Austria there is a movement by a group of young people against refugees coming into their country as they say they are ruining the Austrian culture and I believe Germany could be heading the same way.

    • 0
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      Misty, the people are starting to stand up for their country and culture, which are being threatened with extinction by the Globalists. Germany is beyond belief, it is almost certain that Merkel will get a 4th term in office, come the election later this year. I have friends in Germany and they tell me many people there are afraid to speak out against the mass immigration of muslims to their country. However having said that the tipping point is not too far away and the people will have to make a real choice. France is now almost certainly lost the people had an opportunity to reverse the decimation of their country but failed to act. The UK still has some hope but the people need to start waking now, not tomorrow or the day after. The countries known as the Visegrad Group, made up of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia oppose immigration on the scale that has taken over in Western Europe. The EU Commission is now taking legal action against them for not accepting any refugees. Merkel is the instigator of course and wants Europe to become a Caliphate where Islam is the political force across the whole of Europe.

    • 0
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      The trouble with do gooders is that they fail to assign the same rights to the incumbent population as they do to people who come in and take over.
      Whilst I have no dislike of Muslims I have no appetite for the Islamic population which id trying to turn Australia into another muslim country.
      If muslims want to live here they need to accept OUR values. Most other races who come here do. Islamic people do not, have no intention of ever becoming Australians and have no empathy for non muslim Australians.
      The do gooders need to think before they act against the interests of the nation. A tough ask for people who want to feel good irrespective of what their ‘beliefs’ is bringing down on the nation.

    • 0
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      Thing is Crashbang most Australians don’t want to be anything like Europe and the UK.

      POLITICIANS WILL LOSE SEATS IF THIS CRAP KEEPS GOING ON.

      I am a FIRM believer in migration, but my belief means proper in line migration , NOT HELTER SKELTER PEOPLE FROM EVERYWHERE , WITH TOTALLY DIFFERENT IDEALS AND ALSO SOME WHO ALREADY HATE WESTERNERS, BUT STILL WANT TO COME HERE?????

      why???????????????????????

  3. 0
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    Germany is committing cultural suicide and Ben Hocking believes we should be equally stupid.

    • 0
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      Well written.

    • 0
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      I can understand much of the German dilemma as they have been continuously demonised for war crimes under a dictatorship and have been turned into peace doves that will forever turn the other cheek , no matter how wrong the situation may be .
      But I believe there is more to it as it is not only Germany but also quite a number of other countries with proud traditions and successful record of achievements . These are the countries to be burdened with refugees that have a very poor record of assimilation . Using the example of Germany and it,s experience with Islamic Immigrants in the 1960,,s to 70,s , the vast majority did not assimilate and are only there to take advantage of the better economic situation and much better welfare system than where they came from .
      So . I ask the question , who is pulling the strings to destroy the proud history of these countries and saddle them with Refugees none of the oil rich Arab nations want .
      Perhaps the UN or some secret society with the aim of world Government wants to bring us down on our knees by breaking down our traditions and culture in order to bring us down to the level of these refugees – immigrants . Unfortunately they get a lot of help by do gooders and Leftists Fascists prepared to undermine their countries

  4. 0
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    Perhaps the Commonwealth should be collecting the housing cost from each of these people now they can pay.
    Personally I would offer them 3 cents each or the bullet, these are the next generation of terrorists.
    We recently have seen examples of so called refugees who fled their country in fear of being killed, have been admitted here and now take regular holidays back to where they came from.
    It’s time to that we all come to our senses and stop being the dumping ground for the worlds trouble makers.

    • 0
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      So if they are the next generation of terrorist you must be the present generation of the
      Terrorist.

      You need to be placed on the watch list for threatening others with being shot.

    • 0
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      @P$cript and you need to be put in a lunatic asylum. Spitfire was making an offer not a threat.

      All terrorists are muslim when are you going to learn????????

    • 0
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      Wouldn’t you reckon our politicians actually would see the feeling of the majority. They don’t , it appears, so maybe Bernardi will take some power .
      I can’t see people following Hanson, she is our very own Sarah Palin and seriously should not be in politics , she does not have common sense or logic, and speaks before thinking.
      I am not a fan of Bernardi either , but I am losing any respect or confidance in politicians from the Greens and other left factions , who cannot see the forrest for the trees. And who will not close down our over friendliness which is being taken advantage of now by the likes of these people whose own nations deserted them.
      So we can bring in good people to Australia.
      Not fundamentalist killers. One is too many.

    • 0
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      If they go back to their own country, Spitfire, then they have said it’s a safe place. Australia then has no obligation or duty to give them a safe haven here so they should not be allowed to come back.

  5. 0
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    Absolutely appalling – worse given that we do not even know the real identity of many of these illegals.

    They tried to illegally force their way in, jump all queues and con us as that they were not economic would be migrants when they had all paid substantial sums for their passage.

    And what fools we are allowing these shonky lawyers to line their wallets with my (our) hard earned taxes.

    Further, note to the Editor of this column – I do not give a toss for what Germany or any other country does or does not do – I only care for Australia and Australians – and paying out $90,000,000 to these bozos rather than, say, to OAP’s is truly appalling.

    Should have been fought every inch of the way and then, if necessary, appealed through every court in the land – or had changes made to relevant laws.

    • 0
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      Fully agree. The lawyers who represented them were acting against the fair dinkum tax payers of Australia and ripped them off.
      They should be sent where those illegals came from.
      How un australian those pariahs have become going after the almighty dollar.
      What about the real Australians who do it hard including self funded retirees who still have to pay tax on their already tax paid dollar savings!

    • 0
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      Fully agree. The lawyers who represented them were acting against the fair dinkum tax payers of Australia and ripped them off.
      They should be sent where those illegals came from.
      How un australian those pariahs have become going after the almighty dollar.
      What about the real Australians who do it hard including self funded retirees who still have to pay tax on their already tax paid dollar savings!

    • 0
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      Absolutely correct!!! What message does this send to those welfare bludgers who will follow this lot to Australia?? This should have been fought through to the end, including the appeals process, to show the world and these queue-jumping, country-jumping, illegal, economic migrants that we respect OUR country well ahead of the claims of people like this!!!!!

    • 0
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      I agree. This should have been taken to the Court and then all the secrecy surrounding the detention centres and on water matters would be revealed. This is the reason the Government wanted it settled out of court.

    • 0
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      Brilliant, and why is there no talk of appeal???????

    • 0
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      The government agreed to settle out of court, I think this means that an appeal is not allowed. If you have two parties who reach an agreement what is there to appeal?

    • 0
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      It all seemed to happen very quickly, and all was hush hush, this is the most i’ve even heard of it ?
      and then to read of a big payout, how obscene!

  6. 0
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    It’s simply a cost benefit analysis….. But is it any wonder why this type of immigrant continues to bypass any safe haven to come to Australia. We must be the biggest soft touch going.

    Okay, so it looks like the tax payers of this country will have to fork out once again. So what’s wrong with deducting the $70,000,000 from our foreign aid commitment?

    • 0
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      Great idea Ductape.
      Work out which countries these refugees come from and deduct the exact amount out of the foreign aid sent to those countries.
      Also I would be putting a large notice in the local paper and on their internet news sites advising them of the reason this foreign aid money has been withheld from their countries.

      Why are we not allowed to protect our own borders???

    • 0
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      Come’on Ductape …. that is not Australian …. we give give give and give until we have nothing else to give …. and we pensioners get penalised so they can give more.

      Shit mate this stupid government is killing us bit by bit

      I agreed with you mate there are many other places to get extra money

    • 0
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      Best suggestion yet

    • 0
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      [email protected], thats the best idea i’ve heard yet.
      Yes they should do that, then perhaps they will stop coming here?

  7. 0
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    Those who get the payout should be sent back to their country of origin and the fare deducted from their payment.

  8. 0
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    I imagine the government didn’t want to go through a lengthy, drawn out legal battle with itself. I suppose if the poor old taxpayer is paying for both defence and prosecution then the cost would have been much higher than $70m.
    Was the government afraid of losing the legal battle ? lol. It was on a hiding to nothing.

    • 0
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      Could be more like clearing the decks, getting rid of embarrassments so it will be forgotten about when we have an early election (Turnbull will forget about what happened in the UK in two weeks, short attention span)

  9. 0
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    Aren’t the people on Manus island being assessed for resettlement in the USA? Perhaps those in detention decided a little nest egg would make their life more interesting in America.
    Quite frankly I am tired of cuts to pensions, part pensions and unemployment benefits to people living, and trying to survive, in Australia only to find our government flinging money at people living in other countries, many of them illegal immigrants who tried to crash our refugee resettlement programme.
    Per capita our refugee intake is the largest in the world, we do not need to increase the number of refugees resettled here per year.
    Our country is already a long way past its sustainable level for existence let alone a comfortable life.
    Perhaps old age and disability pensioners and the unemployed could sue our government and demand a living income (tongue in cheek comment), it might work

  10. 0
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    I like so many others are struggling – mortgage, reduced hours at work now…. If they are illegal immigrants they should not have been let into the country – AND so can we give them an account for rent and food provided to them during this time???? WHY do governments think they can put us into debt ?? we will end up being refugees trying to get away from idiots in Canberra and the massive debt our country will be in… China is just on the doorstep waiting to take up our unpaid debts to them … WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 0
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      CC, so totally right. Here we are, law abiding citizens, can’t get access to free medical treatment, lawyers, etc – and these ILLEGSL GSTE CRASHERS not only don’t have to pay for it, they get rewarded! God he’ll, I’be definitely been doing it wrong!! Can guarantee if WE went to their country, wouldn’t get same generous bonanza’s!!!

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