Govt getting better picture of Manus Island riot

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the government is getting a clearer picture of events surrounding last month’s riot at the Manus Island detention centre but he still does not know who killed an Iranian asylum seeker.

Immigration minister Scott Morrison. Picture: ANDREW MEARES

Immigration minister Scott Morrison. Picture: ANDREW MEARES

Mr Morrison on Saturday met with his Papua New Guinea counterparts to discuss the resettlement deal between the two countries, with both parties agreeing to hold a monthly ministerial forum, beginning in April.

At the meeting the two countries agreed to ‘‘synthesise’’ the various inquiries into February 17 riot, including an independent Australian review and local police and coronial investigations.

Asked if the government was any closer to knowing what happened the night of the violence, Mr Morrison said:

‘‘We are getting a clearer picture’’.

But the minister said he did not know who killed Reza Berati, nor who fired shots during the disturbance.    

‘‘I’m hopeful and confident that we will be able to determine what happened on that night,’’ he told ABC radio.

‘‘All of these questions are matters for the review, and I’m going to let the review do it’s job.’’

Mr Morrison said the monthly ministerial meetings would ensure both countries were delivering on their agreement to resettle asylum seekers, with the failure to process those at the centre believed to be the reason for the violence.

Mr Morrison said processing had already begun at the facility, and there were a large number of cases ‘‘almost decision ready’’.

‘‘It could take months. I don’t think it will take (years). Over the next few months I think we’re going to make real progress,’’ he said.

The minister avoided questions about how he could in good conscience send asylum seekers to Manus in the wake of the violence.

No boats had arrived in more the 70 days, he said.

‘‘And when there are no boats coming I don’t have to send anyone,’’ he said.