His comments come two months after violent riots within the Papua New Guinea centre left Iranian man Reza Barati dead and 62 people injured.
Mr Morrison has told the ABC’s Four Corners program that it is “difficult” to ensure the safety of asylum seekers at all times, contradicting an earlier statement that their security would be guaranteed.
“I can guarantee their safety when they remain in the centre and act cooperatively with those who are trying to provide them with support and accommodation,” he said in February.
But the ABC reports, Mr Morrison now says it is “difficult” to ensure safety at all times.
“It is absolutely my aspiration, it is my commitment to ensure that these places are safe, but it is difficult I think to do that in every instance,” he said.
“These are difficult places to manage, but it is certainly my expectation and it is my instruction to those who run these centres that that’s the level of care and support that need to be provided.”
His comments follow reports of mismanagement within the centre, as well as graphic images claiming to depict asylum seekers in the wake of February’s violence.
The images show a number of apparent asylum seekers, some heavily bruised or bearing stitches and bandages.
Other images show what is believed to be blood stained bedding, a blood trail on a set of lockers and bullet holes.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the camp should be shut down if the safety of asylum seekers cannot be guaranteed.
If the Government now admits that they can’t keep asylum seekers safe inside the Manus Island detention camp it should be shut down.
— sarah hanson-young (@sarahinthesen8) April 27, 2014
Unrest at Nauru Detention Centre
The Manus Island centre is not the only offshore immigration facility that has experienced unrest.
Details of a violent riot on Nauru in July 2013 were outlined in a recent report on SBS’ Dateline, which obtained a recording in which an expatriate guard spoke following the riot.
The recording described the violence on Nauru, claiming guards were “hitting ‘em with bloody fire extinguishers and everything”.
“I was jamming my fingers straight in their throat,” he said.
“And then they came back a second time, it was a jam at the throat and smash up under the jaw… This place, somebody is going to die here.”