Former Australian PM Tony Abbott Calls Nauru a 'Very, Very Pleasant Island'
"Nauru is no hell-hole. If you like living in the tropics, it's a very, very pleasant island."
The island of Nauru, home to one of Australia’s notorious immigration detention centres, has been unjustifiably labelled as a “hell-hole” when in actuality it is a “very, very pleasant island,” former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced.
Abbott made the comment during an interview on 2GB radio on Monday, before further elaborating that refugees living in the offshore detention centre receive better health care than people in some regional towns throughout Australia.
"Health services on Nauru for boat people are much more extensive than the health services that a lot of regional towns get here in Australia,” he said. “Nauru is no hell-hole by any means, I’ve been there. If you like living in the tropics, it’s a very, very pleasant island.”
This won’t surprise anyone but Abbott is lying with impunity here. Medical support on Nauru is woefully inadequate and the majority of people exiled to Manus and Nauru by Australia have been found to be genuine refugees. https://t.co/sNxM4B1ljp— Nick McKim (@NickMcKim) October 29, 2018
When pressed about the growing ‘Kids Off Nauru’ movement, Abbott warned that a growing public push to bring children to the mainland for medical treatment would, in turn, simply encourage “people smugglers to suggest people just bring some kids with them to automatically get into Australia.”
"If we give them what they want we will get more of them — that's to say the boats will start up again," Abbott stated. "Of course 'Kids Off Nauru' is a great slogan but it's a dreadful guide for policy.”
President of the Australian Medical Association has declared the situation on #Nauru a “humanitarian emergency requiring urgent intervention".— Oxfam Australia (@OxfamAustralia) September 21, 2018
Join the call to get #KidsOffNauru at https://t.co/TxrlvR3hl8
Abbott’s comments are in total contradiction from those of the Australian Medical Association and Doctors Without Borders, both which cite a surge in mental and physical health conditions in children detained on the island.
Doctors without Borders has warned the mental health situation throughout the facility is "beyond desperate", with some children so traumatised they are in a state of semi-comatose and unable to speak.
Read More: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Offers to Resettle Australia's Refugees — Again
On the day of Abbott’s comments, 652 people were estimated to be held in detention on the island, according to the Guardian. 541 of those people have been found to be legitimate refugees fleeing persecution. 88 people are still having their claims processed, with the remaining 23 previously declined.
Right now I need you to know @ScottMorrisonMP is still lying to you that he is getting #KidsOffNauru. The @ASRC1 continues as we have for 5 years to have to go to court with our legal partners to get court orders to get families & kids off Nauru. This remains the case 90% of time— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) October 29, 2018
This week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced eleven critically ill children had been evacuated off the island and brought to Australia for treatment.
Despite thousands of protesters rallying against the federal government’s offshore detention process on Saturday, and a recent YouGov Galaxy poll which revealed 80% of polled voters want children and their families transferred off the island, Morrison made no further comment in regards to a timeline for when, or if, all refugee children could be evacuated.