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Voters split on bringing families from Nauru to Australia, poll finds

Posted by On 2:52 PM

Voters split on bringing families from Nauru to Australia, poll finds

The Guardian Essential Report Australian immigration and asylum Voters split on bringing families from Nauru to Australia, poll finds

Guardian Essential poll also finds 43% are against keeping asylum seekers on Nauru indefinitely

Protest over Nauru and Manus
Guardian essential poll found 40% supported transferring families and children from Nauru to Australia, while 39% opposed. Photograph: Jeremy Ng/AAP

Australian voters are evenly divided on whether asylum seeker and refugee families on Nauru should be brought to Australia, the latest Guardian Essential poll has found. But a majority of pe ople oppose keeping Australia’s offshore detention scheme policy in place indefinitely.

The poll found 40% of respondents supported transferring families and children from Nauru to Australia, while 39% opposed the idea.

There was similar degree of division over closing the Nauru detention centre and transferring the remaining people to Australia, with 37% of people in support of the idea and 42% opposed.

Labor's left wing growing uneasy about Nauru children and Pacific trade deal Read more

A clearer majority was evident against the prospect of keeping asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru indefinitely, with 43% opposed to the idea and 35% in support. The remainder of respondents were undecided.

As of August, the Nauru detention centre held 102 children and their families.

The Coalition has not wavered from its hardline offshore processing policy, maintaining the deal then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull struck with the US is w orking to transfer asylum seekers off Nauru and Manus Island.

Labor, despite pressure from its left flank, has so far resisted any major changes to the policy, other than flagging a desire to look at the offer New Zealand put forward to accept some asylum seekers still held offshore, as well as investigate other third-party countries for settlement solutions.

Australia did not intervene in Nauru’s decision to give Médecins Sans Frontières doctors 24 hours to leave the island on Friday, despite the crucial free mental health services the group was providing.

Also known as Doctors without Borders, the group had been treating both Nauruans and asylum seekers since late last year. The decision comes on the heels of reports the majority of refugee children on Nauru are suffering from life-threatening mental health problems related to their long-term detention.

The Australian Medical Association also took the unprecedented step of calling on the government to allow a delegation of Australian health professionals onto the island to visit and examine asylum seekers and, where deemed necessary, allow them to be treated in Australia.

The government has rebuffed the plea, while Labor has maintained that each medical case should be judged on its own merit. Amanda Rishworth was the most recent Labor MP to walk a delicate line on the issue, as the internal debate within the party continues.

“If that is the individual requirements of that child, the medical attention that is recommended by a medical professional, then that is certainly what we have been urging the government to do,” Rishworth told the ABC on Sunday.

“Obviously every case by case is different and as our shadow spokesperson has said in the past, the decision shouldn’t be politicised about when that transfer occurs, it should be based on sound medical advice.”

The issue is also becoming one of the determining factors in the crucial Wentworth byelection, with Reachtel polling released by the Refugee Council of Australia finding 65.4 % of respondents in the NSW electorate agree with the AMA recommendation to bring children off Nauru for treatment.

Of those same respondents, 55% said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who held the same view.

The latest Guardian Essential poll shows Labor still ahead of the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis, 53% to 47%, which remains unchanged from two weeks ago.

However, Scott Morrison gained three points in the better prime minister measure, up to 42% from 39% in the last poll, sitting one point above where Turnbull sat last month, while Bill Shorten remains unchanged at 27%.

The Guardian Essential poll surveyed 1,025 respondents between October 4 and October 7.

  • Australian immigration and asylum
  • The Guardian Essential Report
  • Essential poll
  • Nauru
  • Australi an politics
  • Coalition
  • Labor party
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Source: Google Australia | Netizen 24 Australia

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