Online campaign launches to house Manus detainees

As government officials prepare to fly to Papua New Guinea for talks, an online campaign is offering to make room in Australian homes for detainees on Manus Island.

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The fate of about 850 men remains unclear three days after PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced the detention centre would close.

The federal government has ruled out bringing the asylum seekers and refugees to Australia, including to another detention centre on Christmas Island.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also appears unlikely to take up a New Zealand offer to resettle hundreds of refugees, saying it could be used as a marketing tool by people smugglers.

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The online campaign called Room at my Place calls for the men to be brought to Australia to have their claims assessed.

The group wants Australians to make it “easy” for them to be brought to the country by giving them somewhere to stay.

“Imagine if households around the country offered a bed, good meals and caring support for these blokes asking for our protection,” the website says.

Mr O’Neill confirmed on Friday evening it had been agreed a delegation of Australian officials would visit Port Moresby.

“Australia understands the court decision and the meeting next week will consider options and processes required to move forward in an urgent manner as required by the Supreme Court ruling,” he said.

Mr Turnbull has spoken with his PNG counterpart, reiterating the government’s stance that the men would not be coming to Australia.

He says their options are to return to Iran or other home countries or settle in PNG.

About 400 of the men have been assessed as refugees and could leave the detention centre if they chose to.

The government had also been trying to find a third country to settle them, Mr Turnbull said.

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Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has accused some asylum seekers of frustrating their processing because they believed it would prejudice their chances of getting to Australia.

The ABC reported on Friday PNG authorities were preparing to serve the Australian government with legal papers effectively asking it to find alternative housing for the men.

There’s been confusion at the centre, with reports some internal gates were briefly opened and then shut.