Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he only learnt yesterday of new information that the fatal injury of an asylum seeker on Manus Island may have occurred inside the detention centre.
In initially announcing the news of last Monday’s riot, Mr Morrison had said 23-year-old Iranian man Reza Berati sustained a fatal head injury outside the centre.
But he released a statement last night saying that new information suggests the incident, along with much of the riot, occurred inside the detention centre’s perimeter.
More than 60 other people were injured in the violence, and Australia and Papua New Guinea are both conducting investigations.
The Federal Opposition has called for an explanation and suggested Mr Morrison was not being transparent by releasing the statement on a Saturday night.
But Mr Morrison told a press conference this afternoon that he only received the updated information yesterday.
“I’m simply giving you the information that I have and when that information is updated, I’m updating you. That’s the transparent approach,” he said.
Government ‘won’t be intimidated’ into shutting centre
Greens Leader Christine Milne says Mr Morrison should be sacked and the detention centre should be closed.
“Prime Minister Abbott must take personal responsibility for the death of Reza Berati on Manus Island,” she said.
“He must close down Manus Island immediately and sack his minister Scott Morrison.”
But Mr Morrison says the centre will not be shut down.
“This Government will not be intimidated into closing this centre, nor will we be intimidated into walking away from polices that are stopping the boats,” he said this afternoon.
“These updates were provided in good faith and we will continue to provide updates in good faith.”
Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles says Mr Morrison has “no idea what the facts are”.
“This is a man who is not in charge of the Manus Island detention facility, and it raises enormous questions about his ability to continue to manage this issue,” he told ABC News 24.
“His statement last night raises more questions than answers.”
However, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has praised his minister’s handling of the incident.
“The point I want to make about Scott Morrison is that he is an absolutely outstanding Minister. He’s doing a great job for our country,” he said.
“You don’t want a wimp running the border.
“You want someone who is strong, who is decent, and Scott Morrison is both strong and decent.”