abbott on nauru and malaysia

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    By Jeremy Thompson at ABC Online...
    The Federal Opposition has sought to use Question Time to embarrass the Government over its Malaysia asylum seeker swap deal.

    Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, just back from visiting his preferred detention base in Nauru, painted the Malaysian solution as inhumane, with less safeguards than the Government plans to give cattle exported to Indonesia.

    He said Nauru was about to sign United Nations refugee conventions, making the Pacific island nation a safer destination than Malaysia which has not signed.

    "Will the Prime Minister pick up the phone to the president of Nauru to reopen a centre which is humane, cost-effective and proven in the fight to stop people smugglers?" he said.

    Prime Minister Julia Gillard welcomed Mr Abbott back from Nauru and also welcomed the news that Nauru was contemplating signing the conventions.

    "When Nauru said they might be interested I said I would be happy to make available officials to assist in the technical cooperation to get it done," she told Parliament.

    But she directed Mr Abbott to a statement by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that said they were unaware of any approach by Nauru to take formal steps to ratify the conventions.

    Ms Gillard said the Government would prefer to work through the Bali regional framework and negotiate with Malaysia.

    She said under the Malaysian plan, asylum seekers would not come to Australia but "end up in Malaysia".

    "Under the Leader of the Opposition's plan, which is a fundamentally weaker plan, what would happen is that people smugglers would be able to say to asylum seekers, 'sure, you'll have to go to Nauru but you will end up in Australia'."

    Immigration Minister Chris Bowen guaranteed asylum seekers transferred to Malaysia from Australia would be treated with "dignity and respect and in accordance with human rights standards".

    "This is an arrangement that has been developed in conjunction with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees," Mr Bowen said.

    Mr Abbott said asylum seekers sent to Malaysia would be "detained and tagged" rather than having "the run of the island" on Nauru.

    He said Ms Gillard could not guarantee medical care and education for asylum seekers in a $300 million Malaysian centre when those facilities existed on the already-built camp on Nauru.
    The new Labor solution of Malaysia must really be bugging Abbott as he knows it will work extremely well as a deterrant...better than his Nauru solution.

    Also he neglects to mention that the Nauru facilities are mostly run down and the good part is being used as a primary school since the former primary school burned down so is not available.
    Dave R.

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