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Australian Opposition Calls For Reopening of Controversial Refugee Camp

  • Phil Mercer

Sri Lankan asylum-seekers held up in Indonesia while en route to Australia (file photo)

Sri Lankan asylum-seekers held up in Indonesia while en route to Australia (file photo)

Australia's Conservative opposition is planning to reopen a controversial refugee camp on the tiny South Pacific island of Nauru to deter a steady flow of asylum seekers arriving by boat. Asylum is emerging as one of the key election issues ahead of the August 21 poll.

The steady flow of asylum seekers arriving in Australia's northern waters in recent months has made immigration a key issue in this year's federal election campaign.

The conservative opposition says it would consider reopening an unused detention facility on the tiny South Pacific island of Nauru if it wins power in the August 21 poll.

The Australian-sponsored camp operated between 2001 and 2008. It was the centerpiece of the previous right-wing government's asylum policy and was designed to deter boatpeople.

Shadow ministers have held talks in Brisbane with Nauru's foreign affairs minister, Kieren Keke, about the possibility of again sending asylum seekers to the remote island.

Impoverished Nauru is keen for the facility to be reopened to bring much-needed revenue to the world's smallest independent republic.

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