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Don’t be f**king silly – do you know how much that would cost us?

The Australian taxpayer has no idea how much it really costs to detain an asylum seeker and make their lives an abject misery. And if we were told the objective truth and did the maths we would be horrified.

I don’t mind the occasional horror flick, so buckle in for the ride and prepared to be scared, because I’m about to let you in on a little secret.

I won’t bore you with the hundreds of different contracts that have been awarded for work on Manus. I’ll just shock you with the big three.

By doing so I will be vastly understating the true costs involved, but it will be enough to give you a general idea and see where I’m coming from when I say we all must truly have rocks in our heads to believe the hyped bullshit the self-serving bastards in Canberra spin our way.

Just before we kick off, the thing to keep in the back of your mind is that at last count there were exactly 1145 refugees detained on Manus Island, and 1162 on Nauru, a grand total of 2307 ‘illegal immigrants’ quavering behind the razor wire. Remember that number – 2307 – it’s less than you’ll get at the local Anzac Day march. You know, the day we celebrate our forebears dying for freedom and a fair go. Lest we forget.(thinking of you grandpa, love you mate).

Alright, let’s start at the top, with the mother of all contracts, the one that Greg Sheppard and his mates feed off as subcontractors running the Manus Hilton. Here it is:


Yes that’s right folks, $2.1 billion – that’s $2 100 000 000 – for just 18 months. $1.4 billion a year.

And that’s just the start: it only covers a bit of tucker, a phalanx of security guards and a couple of quasi welfare support staff on Manus. It doesn’t include medical services (or lack thereof if you are unfortunate enough to cut your foot in PNG).

Here’s that contract:


Wow! Another $160 million a year (yes that’s right – the contract extension is for just under 12 months. The original $950 million contract can be found here).

So we’re up to $1.56 billion a year but wait, there’s more. What about the Nauru welfare services contract?

Let’s have a look.


Another $100 million! But don’t you worry about that, because just like Manus coconuts, government money grows on trees. Doesn’t it?

So in just 3 contracts we – that’s you, me and the bloke next door; you know, the taxpayer – are spending $1 660 000 000 a year locking up a tick over 2300 desperate souls who’ve sailed to our shores on leaky boats. Or not, as the case may be for those turned around at sea and towed thousands of miles to their barren hellhole. And we haven’t even added in the cost of the navy tugboat, or frigates if you want to get technical. But why argue over pennies when we’re talking about pounds? It’s all about the big picture, keeping our borders secure, at least the ones that brown people on leaky boats try to cross.

Now shut your eyes if you don’t want to know how much we’re spending per refugee per year to keep Tony Abbott bouncing in the polls. One… two …. three!

$720 000.

Per person.Per year.

If we paid them the dole and threw in a bit of rent assistance and a couple of thousand for medical expenses the welfare bill would be about $20 000 tops.

We’re $700 grand a head out of pocket before we start. Where are the economic rationalists when you need them? The red tape cutters? The value for money gurus?

Oh, that’s them lined up at Parliament House surrounded by a phalanx of lobbyists with one hand out clutching for a contract and the back hand holding a fistful of money as a Christmas gift to some bloke with a seat, destination secret offshore bank account unknown.

Ain’t life grand?

Say, hey? Has anyone seen Geronimo?