Response to claims on alleged incidents on Manus Island

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection categorically rejects assertions made over recent days that it was involved in a ‘cover up’ of an alleged sexual assault on Manus Island. To clarify the matter, the Department was made aware immediately in mid-July of an incident involving three service provider staff and a locally engaged staff member. There were no allegations of a criminal nature made as a result of this incident, and to date no accusation or sexual assault of any other criminal offence has been made, either during the incident’s review or since. Furthermore no complaint has been made to the Department in relation to this matter apart from commentary and speculation in the media.

However, the alleged incident was inconsistent with expected behaviours and contrary to the service provider’s code of conduct.  The three service provider staff were stood down and returned to Australia.

The Department is surprised by public comments made by PNG police, in particular the implication that service provider staff were returned to Australia in order to avoid a possible investigation. Senior representatives of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) were briefed personally by Departmental personnel regarding the decision to remove the Wilsons staff from the island and agreed with the proposed action, noting that there had been no referral from the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority for any investigation. The implication that the Wilsons staff were removed to avoid prosecution, or removed without consultation with relevant PNG authorities, is simply wrong. Indeed, the Wilsons staff were removed with the full knowledge and agreement of the RPNGC.

The Department of course stands by to support and assist PNG authorities should there be a case to answer in relation to this matter.

Immigration and Border Protection media: 02 6246 2244

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