Foreign Minister of Nauru: Australian Refugee Center Welcome

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Immigration is a hot topic in Australia. Now, opposition leaders are supporting the re-opening of an immigration detention center in the tiny Pacific island of Nauru. Here's more on the story.

On Tuesday, Australian politicians campaigning ahead of an August election showed their support for re-opening an immigration detention center on the island of Nauru.

Nauru's foreign minister says his country has the experience to run the facilities for the Australian government.

[Kieren Keke, Nauruan Foreign Minister]: (male, English)
“We are open to negotiating and discussing the feasibility of that. We believe, given the experience that we've had in hosting the facility in Nauru, that we know how that can work, we have seen how well it can work. We believe that we can work very constructively with the Australian government in this.”

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith ruled out such proposals.

[Stephen Smith, Australian Foreign Minister]: (male, English)
“We continue to be in discussions with East Timor which is of course a party to the refugee convention, we are of course limited to some extent by the election campaign and the caretaker conventions but we want to affect an offshore processing center which will be long term, which will be enduring, which will help stop the boats coming but won't be, as Nauru was, a short term fix, in the end with Nauru we saw about ninety-five percent of the people who were in Nauru come to either Australia or to New Zealand.”

Immigration has always been a sensitive political issue in Australia, particularly policy towards asylum seekers who come by boat.

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