Abbott makes firm stand on Manus centre

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The National, Friday February 21st, 2014

 AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he will not be deterred or succumb to “moral blackmail” when it comes to running a “firm” detention centre on Manus Island.

He responded yesterday to questions about the safety of asylum seekers sent by Australian authorities to detention on Manus island in light of the recent violence that left one asylum seeker dead and scores of others severely injured.

He told Australian newspapers yesterday that a team of government officials were on Manus to investigate the incidents on Sunday and Monday.

“We have a deputy secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection up there at the moment to ensure that there is a proper analysis of how it all happened,’’ he said.

“The Australian government will not be deterred or intimidated by anyone when it comes to doing what we need to do to protect our borders.

“We will not succumb to pressure, to moral blackmail. 

“We will ensure that these camps are run fairly. 

“They will be firm if necessary.

“Because the fairest thing you can do for anyone is to stop the boats and to finally stamp out the evil trade of people smuggling.’’

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has increased the number of security guards at the detention centre by more than a third in response to the violence.