Senator denied access to Manus detention centre

5:22 pm on 2 May 2017

An Australian senator has been denied entry into Australia's refugee detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

Australian Greens Senator Nick McKim.

Australian Greens Senator Nick McKim. Photo: Supplied

The Green Party's immigration spokesperson Nick McKim arrived in Port Moresby today for the self funded fact finding trip in which he plans to talk to detainees and the Manus Island police commander.

Mr McKim's office in Tasmania said before the senator's departure he was told by the PNG government he would not be allowed to enter the centre due to the sensitivity of ongoing investigations into the Good Friday shooting.

Bullet holes in a fence at the Manus Island detention centre.

Bullet holes in a fence at the Manus Island detention centre. Photo: Refugee Action Coalition

Mr McKim told Fairfax he suspected the Australian immigration minister, Peter Dutton, was behind the denial.

Comments by Mr Dutton have been the subject of recent controversy when the minister alleged the Good Friday incident was sparked by detainees leading a boy into the centre.

Manus Island police denied Mr Dutton's account saying the attack on the centre by PNG naval personnel started in an altercation at a football field.

Detention centre guards on Manus Island.

Detention centre guards on Manus Island. Photo: Behrouz Boochani

Mr McKim was scathing of being refused access to the centre, which houses about 900 men, as it is funded and operated by Australians.

His office said the Senator still planned to meet detainees outside the centre and convey messages of support from the Australian public.

People hold up placards at a protest outside an immigration office in Sydney on February 4, 2016.

People hold up placards at a protest outside an immigration office in Sydney on February 4, 2016. Photo: AFP

A recent report stemming from a senate inquiry into Australia's refugee processing centres on Manus and Nauru called the immigration department's lack of accountability for the centres disturbing and for secrecy surrounding the centres to cease.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance said the Department of Immigration and Border Protection had treated parliament with contempt by not co-operating with the inquiry and that Australia had become a rogue nation over its treatment of refugees.

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