A federally-commissioned report has found 10 aid workers were sent from Nauru because of a need to “prevent an escalation of the protest action” and says their removal was unjustified.
The heavily-redacted report, released late on Friday, also recommends Save the Children enters negotiations with the federal government to determine compensation to the affected staff.
Adjunct professor Christopher Doogan’s review of recommendation nine from the Moss Review report was originally provided to the federal government six months ago.
It comes after the federal government in October 2014 appointed former integrity commissioner Philip Moss to head an independent inquiry.
He was tasked with investigating claims that Save the Children staff fabricated Nauru detention centre abuse stories and coached asylum seekers into self-harm, as well as sexual misconduct allegations.
Save The Children has always denied the claims.
Then immigration minister Scott Morrison announced the Moss Review on October 3, 2014, about a week after protests began on Nauru when detainees were told they were not eligible for the reintroduced temporary protection visas or resettlement in Australia.
On October 2 that year a letter was written on behalf of the government directing that the 10 Save The Children staff be immediately removed.
“The primary impetus for issuing the removal letter was a perceived need to take action of some kind to prevent an escalation of the protest action then occurring on Nauru,” the Doogan Review found.
“The issue of the removal letter was not justified.”
The review has been welcomed by Save The Children, with CEO Paul Ronalds saying he was proud of the organisation’s dedicated staff.
“The idea that they would fabricate cases of abuse or encourage children to hurt themselves was always absurd,” he said.
“These were some of our most talented and hardest-working colleagues, and children and their families on Nauru were the poorer for their absence.”
The Doogan Review also recommends the government implement processes to clear up contracting arrangements, develop a social media policy for contractors and staff, and that legal advice is sought before any similar moves are made in future.