The Abbott Government has confirmed it will release a report into allegations of serious sexual violence in asylum seeker detention facilities on Nauru – known widely as the Moss Review – after a Greens motion ordering the production of documents was passed by the Senate on Tuesday.
In a letter to the Clerk of the senate, Assistant Minister for Immigration, Michaelia Cash confirmed the much-anticipated investigation had been completed, with a final report handed to the Department Secretary on February 9.
Former Integrity Commissioner Philip Moss was commissioned to undertake the review after a string of sexual assault allegations were reported. He was also ordered by then Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison to investigate allegations that staff in the facility had coached asylum seekers to self-harm, and act in a disruptive manner.
While the allegations of sexual assault have been well documented in the media, the government has never confirmed their occurrence, and previous allegations referred to Nauruan police have not resulted in prosecutions.
It had not been clear whether the report would ever be made public, with the Coalition arguing on Tuesday it was undertaken only for the benefit of the Department.
Groups who made submissions to Moss were also unsure whether the results would be publicly revealed.
While committing to publishing “a public version of the report” on the Department’s website, Senator Cash avoided guaranteeing the full copy would be available to the public.
“The Review Team spoke with a number of people, some of whom did so on the grounds that their identity would be protected,” she wrote.
“It is important that the Department consider those wishes in the context of any public release of report material.”
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young accused the government of aiming to sweep the report under the carpet.
“Accusations of abuse, rape and beatings are extremely serious and this report must be released in full,” she said.
The news of the impending release of the Moss report came just hours before the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Forgotten Children Report was tabled in parliament.
Despite being handed to the government in November 2014, the report was not made public until yesterday.
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