On 12 September 2016, the Senate referred the following matters to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 March 2017:
The serious allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect of asylum seekers in relation to the Nauru Regional Processing Centre, and any like allegations in relation to the Manus Regional Processing Centre, with particular reference to:
- the factors that have contributed to the abuse and self-harm alleged to have occurred,
- how notifications of abuse and self-harm are investigated,
- the obligations of the Commonwealth Government and contractors relating to the treatment of asylum seekers, including the provision of support, capability and capacity building to local Nauruan authorities,
- the provision of support services for asylum seekers who have been alleged or been found to have been subject to abuse, neglect or self-harm in the Centres or within the community while residing in Nauru,
- the role an independent children's advocate could play in ensuring the rights and interests of unaccompanied minors are protected,
- the effect of Part 6 of the Australian Border Force Act 2015,
- attempts by the Commonwealth Government to negotiate third country resettlement of asylum seekers and refugees,
- additional measures that could be implemented to expedite third country resettlement of asylum seekers and refugees within the Centres, and
- any other related matters; and
(2) the committee be granted access to all inquiry submissions and documents of the preceding committee relating to its inquiry into the conditions and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees at the regional processing centres in the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
On 20 March2017, the Senate granted an extension of time for reporting until 21 April 2017.
Offshore processing in the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea has been the subject of a number of Senate committee inquiries. In conducting this inquiry, the committee will have access to all documents submitted to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References inquiry during the 44th Parliament. This means that submissions already provided to the committee about this issue do not need to be re-submitted. The committee will also have access to all submissions published by other committees inquiring into related issues.
Submitters to a previous inquiry are welcome to make a further submission to this inquiry.
Should you wish to discuss any aspect of the terms of reference, or discuss making a submission please contact the committee secretariat.
- Any person located anywhere in the world can make a submission to the committee in relation to this inquiry. However parliamentary privilege which operates to protect witnesses does not apply to people who are located outside of Australia.
- Any person who makes a submission to the committee can request that the submission be received, wholly or in part, in confidence, meaning that it will not be made public, or that the submission be made public but with the name of the submitter withheld.
- Any person wishing to make a submission to this committee, or make contact with this committee in relation to this inquiry who requires the use of an interpreter can contact the committee secretariat via the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450. TIS National is a free service.