I’ve wept over the fate of asylum kids: Morrison
The moral burden of overseeing asylum policy and the ordeal of children in Nauru has left Scott Morrison on his “knees” and “in tears” at times, he revealed yesterday .
The Australian revealed last week that the Prime Minister aimed to have all children on the island detention centre relocated to Australia by the end of the year, but they would not be allowed to stay permanently.
Mr Morrison was answering questions at a Lifeline charity lunch in Sydney yesterday when he revealed he had prayed for refugee children.
“You’ll find yourself on your knees, you’ll find yourself in tears, you’ll find yourself wrestling with this tough stuff,” he told journalist and MC Mike Munro.
When asked if he ever cried over refugees personally, Mr Morrison said: “Of course I have. These aren’t easy issues … there are no issues free of moral burden.”
He also said that he believed refugee advocates were wellintentioned even if he disagreed with them over border security and offshore detention.
“I can understand that people who have a very different view to mine are motivated by the purest of motives,” he told the lunch. “All I ask is that they might give the same benefit of the doubt to those with whom they might disagree.”
Mr Morrison first came to prominence in opposition for his hard line on asylum-seeker boat arrivals.
He was then responsible for border security and detention centres as immigration minister under Tony Abbott from 2013 to 2014, when he succeeded in stopping boat arrivals.
There were more than 1300 children in detention on Manus Island and Nauru when the Coalition took over from Labor in 2013. Mr Morrison now says there are fewer than 30 on Nauru.
But critics have continued to protest against the continued presence of children on Nauru, with independent member for Wentworth Kerryn Phelps flagging her first priority in parliament would be to get children off the island.
Mr Morrison said as late as last week that he would not soften border-security policies and called on refugee advocates not to denigrate the nation of Nauru.
“That is the home of Nauruans,” Mr Morrison said in Canberra last week.
“Their children live there, their families live there, they go to school there. We should be tempered in our discussion about the nation of Nauru and I think we should treat them with respect.
“We’ve been getting about this quietly, we haven’t been showboating about it … we’ve just been getting on with it in the appropriate way.”