The leader of Nauru’s Centre Party – an independent party that plays the role of the “bridge” between government and opposition – says that if asked, his nation would be keen to assist with Australia’s worsening refugee situation.
Godfrey Thoma, the former immigration minister who dealt with the Howard government when the Nauru refugee processing centre was first opened, believes that the island nation still presents Australia with the best option to address the current problems.
“What is happening at the (Australian asylum seeker) front is horrifying. Comparably, establishing a camp in Nauru provides a far safer haven for the temporary settlement of asylum seekers,” he said.
Mr Thoma said that if Prime Minister Julia Gillard was to approach Nauru, she would find an even better solution than before. “I am confident we could operate the centres more effectively this time due to our experience.”
His concern is driven by compassion and an acute awareness of the many who are risking – and losing – their lives in their quest to resettle in Australia. “I feel that after recent events, there is now a greater need for the Nauru camp to be re-opened.”
“Our culture embraces Christianity regardless of what religion others practise and we therefore would give good care and shelter to those in need,” Mr Thoma said.