Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media in Sydney. File Photo/Reuters
At least four refugees in Australia's offshore Pacific camps have attempted suicide since the conservative government's shock re-election Saturday, according to refugees, advocates and police.
Around 800 would-be refugees who tried reach Australia have been sent to live in severe conditions on the remote islands of Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus under a hardline policy from Canberra.
Many had prayed for a more lenient policy from Labor, who had been strongly tipped to win.
But an unexpected victory by Scott Morrison's centre-right coalition has dashed hopes and set off a wave of self-harm including several hospitalisations.
"I know that many people in Australia are in shock right now and sad and upset because of the election," prominent Kurdish author and asylum-seeker Behrouz Boochani told AFP.
"Imagine that you can compare this with people in Manus -- our lives depended on the election," he said from the island.
Boochani said nine people had attempted suicide since the national vote with despair spreading through the community.
"The situation is out of control," he said. "I have not seen Manus like this before."
Fellow Manus asylum-seeker Abdul Aziz Muhamat said there was inadequate medical support on the island for those self-harming amid a "scary" increase in suicide attempts.
"Many ppl are shocked & upset about the election result," the Sudanese refugee tweeted.
"The question is what are we going to do to help the forgotten ppl... their lives (are) in danger."
Manus Provincial Police Commander David Yapu told AFP that he was aware of at least ten suicide attempts including four over the weekend.
"It's an issue we are faced with right now," he said.
"Over the weekend we had an attempted arson of their rooms, and right now we have some that are refusing to eat."
Australia's Department of Home Affairs did not respond to a request for comment.
The opposition Labor party had said they would be open to a New Zealand offer to resettle refugees on Manus and Nauru.
The United Nations and human rights organisations have roundly condemned the conservative government's policy.
"We have run out of vocabulary to describe the harm wrought," the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canberra said in December.
Over 2,000 asylum-seekers have arrived at Manus and Nauru since the offshore centres were reopened in 2012.
They have arrived from all over the world, many fleeing war or persecution from places like Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Sudan.
Activists said the election was a breaking point.
"It has been building for six years, but the weekend's election result has precipitated a crisis that the government cannot afford to ignore," said Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition.
Rintoul said men fleeing violence or persecution in Sudan, Iraq and Iran had attempted to hang or set fire to themselves.
"Offshore detention is slowly strangling the life out of its victims," he added.
Polls opened on Saturday in Australia’s nail-biter election, a race that may be the first anywhere decided on climate policy. Just under 17 million people are expected to cast their ballots across the vast island-continent,
Opposition leader Bill Shorten had earlier conceded defeat as the coalition came close to a majority in the 151-seat House of Representatives
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday called a national election for May 18, firing the starting gun on a campaign set to focus heavily on climate and the economy.
Kurdish police spokesman Ali Al Hassan said the car bomb was detonated by "remote control" near a school, "killing a member of our (police) forces".
Ten weeks of demonstrations have plunged the financial hub into crisis with images of masked black-clad protesters engulfed by tear gas during street battles with riot police stunning a city once renowned for its stability.
The ministry said another Palestinian was hospitalised in the shooting that came after the Israeli army said an attack helicopter and tank had fired at "armed suspects" along the barrier that separates Israel from Gaza.