Fact sheet

Fact Check: Was Labor's PNG refugee deal for one year only?

Australian Labor Party Offshore detention Papua New Guinea
In June 2013, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced a new arrangement with Papua New Guinea for the processing and resettlement of asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat. The arrangement led to asylum seekers being transferred to Manus Island in PNG. Implementation of the deal fell to the Coalition after it won the September 2013 federal election. Four years after signing the arrangement, now private citizen Kevin Rudd tweeted: "July 2013 Agreement with PNG was for 1 year only. Refugees should've been resettled in Oz by Abbott/Turnbull 3 yrs ago". RMIT ABC Fact Check found Mr Rudd was rewriting history. The phrase "1 year only" in Mr Rudd's tweet does not reflect the timing set out in the 2013 arrangement he signed. The document says the deal with PNG was for "an initial" 12-month period, which was to be followed by annual reviews. The arrangement could, and in fact did, continue beyond 12 months. And this timeframe relates only to the processing and resettlement arrangement with PNG. The Rudd government's overarching policy that asylum seekers arriving by boat without visas would not be settled in Australia was not described at the time as being only for a short period.
Verdict: Rewriting history
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