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Monday, 25 October 2010
Page: 1290

Mr KEENAN (2:21 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Given that the government’s regional processing centre in East Timor will only receive and process asylum seekers who enter our region, which the Prime Minister can still not define, why is the Prime Minister refusing to listen to the warning of the Indonesian government and the Indonesian director of immigration, who has described the proposal as an asylum magnet in our region?

Ms GILLARD (Prime Minister) —I thank the member for his question, and there was a certain elegance in a Western Australian asking a question after acknowledgment of the Western Australian Attorney-General, who is in the gallery. Can I say, in answer to his question, that firstly I suspect he should read the full quote of the relevant Indonesian minister, who, as it is my understanding, then goes on to talk about the major reason why people get on the move, being circumstances in their own country; that is, he is referring to the push factors.

On the regional processing centre, I understand that there are going to be a variety of views in our region, in this parliament and in the broader community as we work our way through these issues. That is to be expected on something that is complicated and something that requires a sophisticated public policy response. But the government has made its decision that it will pursue dialogue about the regional protection framework and regional processing centre. On the question of the definition of the region, can I refer the member asking the question to my Hansard from last week where I was asked that question and answered it.