Dutton urged to front with Manus evidence

4:50 pm on 27 April 2017

A Papua New Guinea MP has urged Australia's Minister of Immigration to reveal evidence behind a claim about unrest on Manus Island.

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton Photo: AFP

Peter Dutton claimed tensions boiled over at the Manus processing centre on Good Friday due to concerns about a boy being "led into" the centre by asylum seekers.

Manus police rejected his account, saying the incident involving the child was separate from the Good Friday violence and not how Mr Dutton portrayed it.

The minister stood by his comment but said he wouldn't release information he received about the unrest because it is classified.

Manus MP Ronny Knight suggested Mr Dutton was doctoring perceptions about the refugees.

"Too many secret sources, it sounds like a Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe, doesn't it? Mr Dutton's assertion that he has certain facts that he's not releasing to the public. what's so secret about it? Is it a state secret? Come on, tell us. Tell us what is happening. You know, we're on the ground, we know what's happening here, but apparently he knows what we don't know, so tell us."

Meanwhile, Mr Knight has been reinstated as a member of parliament by Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court.

The Manus MP was dismissed last week for misconduct in office over the purchase of a boat for his electorate.

But PNG's Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia yesterday stayed the dismissal, saying there were serious concerns about how he had been cited by PNG's Leadership Tribunal.

Manus MP Ronnie Knight

Manus MP Ronnie Knight Photo: EMTV

"I had enemies in my own cabinet here," explained Mr Knight, "(local level government) presidents who were loyal to the former member who were looking for any way whatsoever to get me out, because when I came in I basically stopped the rampant theft and corruption that happens (here)."

However Mr Dutton, under fire from Australia's opposition for linking unrelated events to the Good Friday unrest, this week labelled the Manus MP a "discredited witness".

Although the minister said he had been "convicted of fraud", Mr Knight wasn't fussed.

"Empty drops make the loudest noise. He was just trying to discredit me."

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