Australia news live: police search Sydney Harbour for missing sailor; rallies against 10 years of offshore detention

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Rallies against 10 years of offshore detention

Demonstrators will rally across the nation today against Australia’s decade-long policy of offshore detention of refugees seeking asylum by boat, Australian Associated Press reports.

Human rights activists are calling on the Albanese government to shutter detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea that incarcerated refugees in a deal struck by then prime minister Kevin Rudd in July 2013.

More than 3,000 people have been detained on the Pacific island nations over the past decade.

Lieke Janssen, of Refugee Action Collective Victoria and an organiser of Melbourne’s rally, believes the government has a responsibility to act. She said:

It was a Labor government that actually introduced this policy.

This 10-year anniversary marks the perfect moment to demand the current Labor government gets rid of these policies once and for all.

Speakers slated to share testimonies include Iranian-Kurdish artist Farhad Bandesh, who was detained on Manus Island in PNG for six years.

Other rallies are planned on Sunday including in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.

Sanmati Verma, managing lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, described the Australian offshore detention regime as “a system of calculated cruelty which is now being exported to other parts of the world to torture and punish people seeking safety”.

Australia removed all asylum seekers from Nauru last month but will keep the empty centre open at a cost of $350 million per year.

About 80 asylum seekers remain in PNG.


Martin Farrer

Martin Farrer

Good morning and welcome to our rolling news coverage of the day ahead. I’m Martin Farrer and I’ve got some top overnight stories coming your way before Graham Readfearn slips into the hot seat.

Our top story this morning is an exclusive about parliamentary documents that reveal the Morrison government signed a “confidential bilateral agreement” with Papua New Guinea in December 2021, paying the Port Moresby government to provide welfare and support for refugees forcibly sent there by Australia.

The Albanese government is refusing to say how much it is paying for the secret agreement which involves about 75 refugees and asylum seekers being held in Port Moresby. It comes as protesters are preparing to rally today against Australia’s decade-long policy of offshore detention of refugees seeking asylum by boat. More coming up.

Police rescue teams are continuing to scour Sydney Harbour this morning for a man missing after a boating accident on Thursday that also claimed the life of Sydney art dealer Tim Klingender. The missing man is believed to be Andrew Findlay, a 51-year-old IT entrepreneur.

The pair were believed to have been on a Brig 7.8-metre inflatable boat with a centre console in or near the water around Watsons Bay on Thursday. Police are planning to hold a media conference at midday today to give more details. We’ll have any developments as soon as they happen.

A man found guilty in absentia of downing the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 has been arrested in Russia, according to reports. Igor Girkin, a former battlefield commander of Russian proxy forces in east Ukraine, was convicted by a Dutch court last year over the shooting down of MH17, with the death of 298 people on board – including 38 Australians.

But the families of those victims will not be any nearer seeing justice because Girkin has been arrested on extremism charges probably fuelled by his criticism of the Russian war effort in Ukraine.

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