All go for detention centre: Nauru

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Kieren Keke met with opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison and deputy leader Julie Bishop in Brisbane while in transit at the airport.


Ms Bishop dismissed suggestions the meeting was a stunt.

Dr Keke said his country hoped to reopen the centre and played down allegations of human rights abuse during its operation under the Howard government Pacific Solution.

“There were a lot of negative perceptions created that were unfounded,” he said.

“The asylum seekers were treated very well.”

He said a request had been made to meet with the Gillard government on Tuesday but no arrangements were in place.

Ms Gillard favours East Timor for a regional processing centre because it is a signatory to the UN refugee convention.

Mr Morrison said an Abbott government would not require Nauru to sign up to the UN convention but Dr Keke indicated Nauru was happy to go down that path.

“It’s being considered,” he said.

“But we can still protect the rights of people without being a signatory.”

Ms Gillard claims Nauru’s deadlocked parliament was a problem.

But Mr Morrison said reopening Nauru was an instant solution.

“The constitution of Nauru enables the president to enter into an agreement with Australia to reopen the centre,” Mr Morrison told reporters.

“There are no constitutional barriers, it could be done today, it could have been done three weeks ago.

“I’ve also met with the opposition leader of Nauru and he has indicated strong support.”

Ms Bishop said Labor was not serious about having a dialogue with the region and slammed Foreign Minister Stephen Smith for snubbing the upcoming Pacific Island Forum.

“Next week there is a Pacific Island Forum meeting all the relevant nations will be there including East Timor as a special observer,” she said.

“Australia is not sending the prime minister or foreign minister – this is unprecedented.

“(They) have an ideal opportunity to discuss the issue of off-shore processing.”