Last week the PNG government won a legal stay against the human rights investigation of Manus initiated by PNG supreme court judge David Cannings. So he set up a snap inquiry on Friday, sending a small team into the detention centre to take evidence from asylum seekers who claim their rights have been violated. This new inquiry may be shut down today too.
The Australian government has supported the PNG's attempts to shut down the inquiries. Readers may recall it has already blocked its own human rights commissioner Gillian Triggs from inspecting the centre, not to mention the media.
One of the few people allowed in as part of the snap inquiry, Daniel Webb, observed this morning (via ABC RN): "I think I've read every report that's been written about conditions inside the Manus processing centre, and I was still absolutely shocked and confronted by what I saw. We saw chronic overcrowding. Some of the rooms had so many beds packed into them that you couldn't walk between the beds. We saw poor toilet and sanitation facilities... Everywhere we went we were swamped by crowds of asylum seekers just desperate for help."
There is as yet no indication of how or where the 1310 Manus asylum seekers will be resettled if found to be refugees. PNG has stated it will not take them all. Nothing has been arranged.
But Tony Abbott agreed with PNG prime minister Peter O'Neill's view that most would not be found to be refugees, even though none have yet had their refugee status determined.
"It emerged that the Australian government has backed the attempts by the PNG government to shut down the inquiries into the centre, which is entirely Australian-funded and houses 1310 asylum seekers transferred from Australia."
Also: PNG “mateship” on asylum seekers no substitute for rigorous policy and decent conditions (Michelle Grattan, The Conversation)
"Independent MP Geoff Brock has announced he will support a Labor minority government in South Australia. Mr Brock, the MP for Frome, will take up the roles of Minister for Regional Development and the Minister for State and Government Local Relations in the new Labor government."
"As the Abbott government moves to revive the building industry watchdog, Victoria Police has revealed that not one criminal conviction was recorded as a result of its information over its seven years in existence. The government wants to reintroduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which operated from 2005 to 2012, citing a culture of lawlessness in the industry."
"The national secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, Paul Howes, is expected to quit the union movement on Monday, robbing Labor of one its rising stars and the union movement of a strong advocate for reform. The union leader has been quietly preparing senior Labor Party and ACTU figures for his resignation, according to ALP sources close to the move."
"The Labor Opposition just hasn't been able to lay a blow on the other side. Apart from struggling to adjust to the uncomfortable but necessarily edifying transition from government to opposition, Labor has seemed singularly unable to capitalise on the panoply of stumbles, gaffes, backflips and dubious decisions that Abbott and his team have manifested in such a short time."