In control: Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison celebrate the six-month anniversary of no refugee boat arrivals. Photo: Andrew MearesCase worker sacked after calling Manus Island detention centre a hellhole
An Iraqi man on a bridging visa was forced back to Iraq by the Australian government two days before the violent clashes in the north of the country, documents show.
The man, who was living in Brisbane, was flown to Basra in southern Iraq on June 8 after being in detention for a week.
A document from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection shows the man, who does not want his name disclosed, was flown from Brisbane to Basra via Melbourne and Doha.
”You will not be permitted visitors at the airport,” it says. ”You will be escorted on your departing flight.”
But two days later the city of Mosul, in the north of Iraq, was seized by al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and, by June 12, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had condemned the sectarian violence engulfing the country.
”The Australian government strongly condemns the actions of the [ISIL], which has taken over substantial parts of Mosul and other areas of north-west Iraq,” she said. On June 16, Australians were then told to leave Iraq immediately by Ms Bishop.
The Greens are pushing a motion to place a moratorium on sending asylum seekers back to Iraq.
Greens Immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said the government’s actions were ”cruel and irresponsible”.
“The situation in Iraq is worsening every day and it is unconscionable that Australia is continuing to send asylum seekers back there.”
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday it was Iraqis’ free choice to leave Australia if they wanted to.
”If they choose to go back to their home country that is a matter for them … If there are other issues that are relevant to us preventing them returning from Iraq for other security reasons that would be considered separately,” he said.
His spokesman later said each case was considered on its merits, and Australia would not return failed asylum seekers without fully assessing any claims for protection.
Mr Morrison was joined by Prime Minster Tony Abbott to announce six months had passed since a boat carrying asylum seekers had arrived on Australian shores.
”I’m not declaring victory,” Mr Abbott said. ”There’s no hint of mission accomplished … But nevertheless, this is a very satisfactory milestone that we’ve had six months since the last successful people-smuggling venture to Australia.”