Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended the standard of the country’s offshore detention centres, saying the government won’t apologise for them not being five-star hotels.
International bodies such as the United Nations and Amnesty International have been scathing of the centres at Nauru and Manus Island, raising concerns about the treatment of asylum seekers and their health and welfare.
But Mr Abbott said those housed at the offshore detention facilities were there “because he or she has come illegally to Australia by boat”.
“We don’t apologise for the fact that they’re not five-star or even three-star hotels, nevertheless we are confident we are well and truly discharging our humanitarian obligations,” he told Network Ten on Friday.
“People are housed, they’re clothed, they’re given medical attention. They’re kept as safe as we can make it for them.”
With News Corp reporting as many as five asylum seeker boats have been towed or turned back to Indonesian waters in the past month, the prime minister was again questioned about the secrecy surrounding the government’s border operations.
He said the public wanted the boats stopped, and “that’s my determination”.
“If stopping the boats means being criticised because I’m not giving information that would be of use to people smugglers, so be it,” he said.