Labor Voters Overwhelmingly Support Royal Commission into Offshore Detention

by Noah Schultz-Byard


Australia Institute research shows a strong majority of Australians, including an overwhelming majority of Labor voters, support the establishment of a Royal Commission into offshore detention.

The Australia Institute surveyed voters about recent allegations of potential corruption and bribery in relation to the management of Australia’s offshore detention network and asked their opinion about potential referrals to the National Anti-Corruption Commission or the establishment of a Royal Commission.

Key Findings

  • Nearly four in five Australians (79%) would support a Royal Commission into Australia’s offshore detention policy. Less than one in 10 (9%) oppose.
  • Five in six Labor voters (83%) would support a Royal Commission, while only 6% oppose.
  • Establishing a Royal Commission into offshore detention is popular with voters of all parties, with 83% of Labor voters, 75% of Coalition voters, 89% of Greens voters, 67% of One Nation voters and 74% of independent voters in support.
  • Large majorities of voters of all parties support a National Anti-Corruption Committee inquiry into corruption in Australia’s offshore detention system.
  • Eighty-five per cent of Labor voters support an inquiry, and a majority of Labor voters (51%) are in strong support.
  • Fourteen times as many Coalition voters (84%) support an inquiry than oppose one (6%).

“Australian voters, and especially Labor Party voters, want to see the potential corruption and mismanagement of offshore detention investigated by a Royal Commission,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, SA Director at the Australia Institute.

“Labor would do well to heed this message from their own supporters when discussing the issue of offshore detention at its National Conference.

“Over recent weeks and months there have been numerous allegations relating to potential fraud, bribery and mismanagement in relation to Australia’s detention camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

“Australia’s offshore detention regime has wasted billions of dollars of public money, damaged Australia’s international reputation and caused untold suffering and harm to the people who have been detained there.

“Only a Royal Commission would have the scope, authority and power to adequately address instances of corruption and human rights abuses occurring in offshore detention,” said Ogy Simic, Advocacy Director at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

“Like millions of Australians the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre calls on the Australian government to green-light a Royal Commission and end the abusive overseas detention system by evacuating the 75 people still being held in Papua New Guinea, who came here looking for safety over a decade ago.

“The creators of this abusive overseas detention system locked up more than 3000 people and over 200 children on tiny islands, denied proper medical care to hundreds of refugees and cost 14 people their lives. This government has done the right thing by evacuating the last few refugees from Nauru. Now, they need to close this brutal chapter with a Royal Commission and by bringing the remaining refugees trapped in PNG to Australia so they can start to rebuild their lives,” said Mr Simic.

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