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We need to hear truth about Nauru: Milne

The Greens want the Senate to hold an inquiry into allegations asylum seekers were sexually abused at an offshore processing centre on Nauru.


It follows the public release of a independent review which uncovered claims of sexual harassment and abuse, including three allegations of rape, inside the Australian-funded centre.

The government has accepted all the recommendations former integrity commissioner Phillip Moss made in a report released late last week.

Greens leader Christine Milne says a Senate inquiry is needed to allow the allegations to be aired under parliamentary privilege.

The Nauru government, in its first public response to the Moss review, said it was disappointed at the actions of service providers at the centre.

“It is clear that there must be changes in the way these operations are managed,” it said in a statement, adding the government strongly condemned sexual assault, violence or any form of intimidation.

It warned refugees and advocacy groups not to use the review’s report to further what it said was a campaign of “lies and aggression”.

“Sadly some have abused our friendship and some groups in Australia continue to spread misinformation about refugees in Nauru,” the government said.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the inquiry would “shine a light in the dark places”.

“We know that the justice system in Nauru is a basket case, to put it politely,” she told reporters in Canberra.

She said the statement by the Nauru government sounded like “something that has been written by a spin doctor in order to protect a corrupt government”.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott conceded it was “appalling and reprehensible” that abuse appeared to have taken place at the detention centre.

But in response to a question from Greens MP Adam Bandt, he refused to say whether the government would apologise to aid group Save the Children.

The review found no conclusive evidence to support claims members of the group were encouraging asylum seekers to engage in self-harm and make false claims about abuse.

Mr Abbott said the government had been able to restart a decent humanitarian immigration intake program.

“Because those coming to Australia are now being chosen by us, and not by the people smugglers.”


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