Immigration

ACT Liberals abstain from motion calling for shutdown of Nauru and Manus detention centres

File photo: Manus Island Source: Supplied

A motion calling for the Turnbull Government to remove asylum seekers from detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru has sailed through the ACT Legislative Assembly unopposed by the Liberal opposition.

The assembly erupted in applause when the Canberra Liberals chose to abstain, allowing the passage of a bill that calls the offshore detention centres “extremely unsafe”.

The motion calls for the asylum seekers currently held in offshore detention to be settled in Canberra.

Canberra Liberals leader Alistaire Coe said while immigration was clearly a federal issue, his team did “sympathise with the plight of those in detention”.

“We also acknowledge that successive governments have had a policy in place that has led to where we are today,” Mr Coe said.

”These are federal Liberal and federal Labor governments.”

The motion was moved by Greens minister Shane Rattenbury, who is part of a coalition government with the ACT Labor party.

“I encourage all members of this place to continue to advocate for a better policy by the Australian Government,” he said.

Human rights group Amnesty International welcomed the passage of the motion.

“There’s more and more politicians from across the whole spectrum who are seeing the current system as unworkable,” Amnesty’s refugee campaigner Ming Yu Hah told SBS World News.

“This sends a strong message to Prime Minister Turnbull and Immigration Minister Dutton that their deliberately abusive policies are not welcome and that they must come to an end.”

SBS World News has contacted Alistair Coe for an interview, but the Canberra Liberals leader was still in Question Time.  

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