Nauru detention centre on the agenda again

Pressure is growing on Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott to put politics aside and sort out the border protection mess.

On Thursday The Australian reported Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has been given the authority to put the Nauru detention centre on the table in talks with the Opposition aimed at ending the stand-off over offshore processing.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has welcomed reports that the Government will consider reopening the Nauru detention centre – he said he still needed a proposal in writing before he could enter into talks with the Government.

Abbott ruled out doing a deal which would include offshore processing in Malaysia and said he also wanted the Government to adopt his temporary protection visas policy.

He said any talks should be between himself and Julia Gillard, not between Mr Bowen and his Coalition counterpart Scott Morrison.

On Sunday, in his first public comments in support of processing asylum-seekers outside Australia, Cardinal Pell said that an offshore regime may be the only viable way to prevent refugees from being exploited by human-trafficking syndicates. “It’s difficult to see any alternative to the government and opposition promptly agreeing on effective offshore deterrents. Australians do not want more tragedies like this.”

Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, is known for his sympathy for refugees, condemning prime minister John Howard in 2001 over his “mean and excessively harsh” efforts to deter boat arrivals.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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