PM slams human rights experts after child refugee findings
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has launched a scathing attack on the nation's human rights commission over a report calling for a Royal Commission into children held in immigration detention.
The Australian Human Rights Commission report found more than 300 children held in the system had committed or threatened self-harm in "a 15-month period" as well as 30 sexual assaults reported.
It its report, the commission called for a Royal Commission to further investigate the long-term effects of detention on children's physical and mental health.
But asked about the report on 3AW radio this morning, Mr Abbott hit out at the commission, saying the report was a "blatantly partisan politicised exercise".
"Where was the human rights commission when hundreds of people were drowning at sea?" he said.
"I reckon the human rights commission should be sending a note of congratulation to Scott Morrison."
But Commissioner Gillian Triggs said the commission "wholeheartedly welcomes" the release of children from the detention centre under the current government, but that 211 children remained in detention and 119 children were "held indefinitely on Nauru".
She said the commission called the inquiry to investigate the treatment of children in detention over the past 10 years, since its previous inquiry in 2004.
Mr Morrison, Mr Abbott's first immigration minister before a reshuffle late last year, told ABC Radio this morning he found it "interesting" that the commission "didn't even want to conduct an inquiry when there were almost 2000 children in detention".
The Greens have supported the commission's call for a Royal Commission on the issue, while Labor's immigration spokesman Richard Marles said the Opposition was carefully considering the report.
The government is yet to officially respond to the report, but it is understood it will not be initiating a Royal Commission into the issue.