Immigration

‘We’re being taken for fools’: Hanson slams $70m payout to Manus Island asylum seekers

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Pauline Hanson says she is frustrated and angry at the $70 million payout to Manus Island asylum seekers in a class action settlement, describing them as 'illegals'.

The One Nation leader has railed against the $70 million class action settlement for detainees of the Manus Island detention centre, warning there could be repercussions with another “lot” of asylums seekers making such claims.

“So when’s the next lot, is Papua New Guinea the next lot? Another thousand there?” she says in a YouTube clip posted on Wednesday.

The Manus Island centre - in Papua New Guinea - is one of two Australian offshore immigration detention centres, with the other on Nauru.

The case on behalf of 1, 905 detainees of the Papua New Guinea detention centre held between 2012 and 2016 is believed to be the largest human rights class action settlement in Australian history.

The asylum seekers sought compensation from the Australian government and the detention contractors for physical injuries and mental health illnesses they allege to have suffered because of the conditions of their detention.

But Senator Hanson accused them of being economic refugees who self-harm to boost their chances of being resettled in Australia.

“These illegals have no regard for our country,” she said.

Senator Hanson said she didn’t blame the government for settling the case, accusing the class action participants of being driven by the payout.

“They were claiming to be mistreated, and because of mental conditions... .Excuses why there should actually be a class action against us to get... money. That’s what it’s about.

“We’re being taken for fools.

“I’m sick and tired of the bloody do-gooders that are actually pushing this bandwagon.”

The law firm behind the class action, said the asylum seekers endured hostile conditions, many fleeing religious persecution and violence.

“This is not an environment that any person with another safe option would choose to live in,” Slater and Gordon Principal Lawyer Andrew said in a statement.

Lead plaintiff Majid Kamasaee decribed the centre as “hell”.

“I was in pain every minute of every day and I cried every night until I had nothing left,” he said.

“The way we were treated at the Manus Island detention centre was degrading and cruel, but sadly, many of my friends are still there.”

 

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