Australia refuses New Zealand offer on refugees

Saul Bowman
November 7, 2017

The two leaders held talks here earlier on Sunday.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten U-turned on Labor's stance on Friday, saying the plan had similarities to the United States resettlement deal to take 1250 people.

The meeting comes as roughly 600 asylum seekers on Manus Island have been left without power, food and water in an attempt by the government to encourage them to seek refuge on the island proper.

"What we are seeking to do is ensure there are opportunities for resettlement for the people on Manus Island and Nauru.

We say its well past time that the New Zealand government takes action to rescue these people and bring them here".

The offer, first made by the country to the Gillard government in 2013, has been rejected a couple of times on the grounds that it would give asylum seekers a backdoor into Australia and become a marketing opportunity for people smugglers.

Mr Thomas said the security concerns of detainees had been taken into account, with increased measures put in place at the other facilities.

Turnbull had said that Australia was pursuing a deal with the U.S. to take more than 1000 refugees from Australia before he considered other offers.

Offering praise for the recently elected leader, Mr Turnbull dubbed the knowledge of Ms Ardern on the Pacific as "second to none".

Overnight, one refugee on Manus Island was reportedly experiencing heart problems.

The PNG Supreme Court ruled the detention of asylum seekers was illegal and the PNG Government says it is Australia's responsibility to deal with those who do not want to resettle in the country.

A federal government backbencher, Kevin Andrews, today broke ranks to support sending refugees to New Zealand to help end the stand-off on Manus Island.

The stand-off at the Manus Island detention centre prompted Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to issue a statement on Friday, calling on Mr Turnbull to accept the offer, describing it as not dissimilar to the United States deal.

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