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ABC News 24: 5pm News wkend -

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(generated from captions) The Federal Opposition says

Nauru is ready, willing and

able to re-open its processing

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott centre on the island.

met with Prime Minister Marcus

Stephen in Brisbane Stephen in Brisbane this

afternoon. He held a news

conference to give the details. The conference shortly afterwards

purpose of the meeting waa to

President to the prospect of discuss with the Nauruan

opening the Australian-funded asylum seeker processing centre which operated successfully on Nauru

was between 2001 and 2008 and which

was such an important part of

government the policies of the former

government to stop the boats,

the successful policies of the

former government to stop former government to stop the boats. It was absolutely crystal-clear from the

the Nauruan team that Nauru the Nauruan team that Nauru is

ready, willing and able to re-open that processing centre

at short notice. It's also crystal-clear that under the

Nauruan Constitution, there is

no impediment whatsoever to no impediment whatsoever to the Nauruan Government re-opening

that centre immediately, to

making the decision to re-open that centre immediately. Now, the most important that Julia Gillard could have the most important conversation

had in Brisbane today was with

the President of Nauru, and it the President of

is a real pity that she hasn't

today had, here in Brisbane, that conversation with the

President of Nauru, and I

simply point out that today Brisbane, Julia Gillard has simply point out that today in

been having meetings with Mark - not with Mark Latham... LAUGHTER Rudd to talk about Labor's has been meeting with Kevin

problems. I've been meeting

with the President of Nauru to

address the issues facing address the issues facing our

country. So I might just ask

Julie to say a few words and then Scott to say a few words. then

I should point out that Scott

will actually be travelling to

Nauru tomorrow night because

it's very important that we see

for ourselves the conditions on Nauru. We are they are good, based on the

discussions that we've had

today with the Nauruan team,

but it is important that we see

for ourselves and that's what

Scott will be doing in coming days. But, Julie. Thank you,

Tony and Scott. The President

of Nauru made it plain today

that he was available to speak

to both sides of politics. We

took up that opportunity because we believe because we believe that there

is a solution, that we can

achieve working with the

Nauruan Government. He also

made it clear that there support within the community in

Nauru, both parliamentary and amongst the people, for the

re-opening of the Australian-built and processing centre and Australian-taxpayer-funded

processing centre and that

again, I reiterate there is impediment to the decision again, I reiterate there is no

being made by the Government of

Nauru to negotiate with

Australia to open the centre.

Our relationship with Nauru is

strong and we have taken this

opportunity to find out from

the President the current

status in Nauru, and he has

willing, ready, able to re-open that centre.

Thank you, Tony. As Tony

said, I'm looking forward take the opportunity to go to

Nauru tomorrow evening and visit there on Monday and take a first-hand look at the

facilities, as well as

addressing a lot of the other

issues that will obviously have to be addressed in terms of infrastructure and services infrastructure and services and

so on. It is very much taking a first-hand look atd these

Coalition is successful in a matters and enabling

few weeks' time, to be able to

hit the ground running when it

comes to putting our plans to comes to putting our plans

standing stop the boats in place. We're

standing ready to do that and

this trip is very much making

sure we are able to do that

from day one. I look forward to

that opportunity and I thank Dr

Keku who passed on that

invitation when Julie and I met

with him a week or so ago and

I'm looking forward to that on Sunday. Any questions? REPORTER: You told today you wouldn't discuss living in The Lodge Kirribilli because you don't living in The Lodge and

want to get ahead of yourself.

Yet today you are meeting with

the President of

that get ing ahead of

yourself? This was not a negotiation. Only a government

can negotiate with another government. We were simply inquiring as to the true disposition of the Nauruan Government and the Government and the Nauruan

people. It has been claimed in

this campaign by Prime Minister Gillard that there practical impediment to picking up the phone to Nauru and

getting this offshore

processing centre established almost immediately. Today's meeting was about establishing

beyond any shadow of doubt that there is no impediment, that

the Nauruan Government could

make the decision tomorrow to

re-open the centre. So it was really about whether the Prime Minister's really about establishing

plainly they're not. representations were valid and

REPORTER: Mr Abbott, a

campaign launch is a big set piece in an election campaign.

With what's going on with

Labor, are you worried that

this will overshadow your

campaign launch tomorrow.

Within your heart, do you have any sympathy for Julia Gillard

for someone like Mark Latham

for someone like Mark Latham to

turn up at her press

conference. Obviously there is

a fair old soap opera going-on-the other side of politics. I guess like all soap

but I operas, it's riveting drama,

but I don't think the public want drama from their

politicians, I think they want

good government from their am offering them, good

government. And from day one we

would take decisive steps to

end the waste, to pay back the

debt, to stop the big debt, to stop the big new taxes

and to stop the boats and

that's what I'm doing every day that's what I'm doing every

of this campaign. of this

REPORTER:... from the

distancing himself of the

running of that centre. He said

it was you and officialing who

ran that centre in Nauru. ran that centre in Nauru. Have you got an agreement in place for their staff to run the

centre? As I said, we are not a government-to-government negotiation. It couldn't be. We were exploring what was

possible on Nauru so that we

would know exactly what would know exactly what could be achieved on day one of an incoming Coalition government.

So, that's what we've been

doing, and what I can say, based on the meeting today,

that the Nauruans are ready,

willing and able willing and able to re-open that centre and there is no impediment, impediment, no impediment whatsoever for the Nauruan Government making the decision to do so now.

REPORTER: Does that mean you

would have to offer money and incentives to incentives to the Nauruan

people and also did they agree

to sign up to the Refugee

Convention? Well, as I said,

this was not a negotiation. We

wanted to establish beyond any

shadow of doubt that the

Nauruans are ready and willing and able to re-open and able to re-open the centre

and they can make the decision to do so immediately should

that be the result of a

government-to-government negotiation. So obviously there were no discussions of the sort

that you allude to, but I do

point out that the

centre on Nauru cost far, far less than the money that the

current government is spending

in 12 months on processing in

Christmas Island and increasingly on centres in mainland REPORTER: At any stage of the

discussion say that discussion say that you would

prefer Nauru to sign up to prefer Nauru to sign up to the Refugee Convention, something

you've let them know about and in terms

logistics wise could be actually get people

there? Look, this business of

requiring that they sign the

convention is simply a furphy

that has been raised by the

Prime Minister. When the processing centre was open before, it before, it was operated by the international organisation of migration under US auspices,

and the fact that UN - that

Nauru had not signed the

convention didn't stop UN voft

in the running of the processing centre.

REPORTER: Mr Abbott, who

instigated the meeting with the

President of Nauru? Who is

covering their costs for flights and accommodation here?

And have they given any

indication as to what kind indication as to what kind of payment they would like from

Australia to run the centre? I might ask Scott to handle

that because my understanding

is that this meeting today

arose out of the discussions with Scott, which Scott and Julie had with Foreign Minister

Keke a week or so back, and my understanding understanding is that understanding is that the Nauruans were here in Nauruans were here in Brisbane in any event as part of the

wrap-up from the Pacific

Islands Forum that they've just

been at. I might ask Scott and Julie to refer to that I can confirm that. The President was here own steam today and there was the opportunity to meet with him today. As Julie mentioned

at the outset, the opportunity

was there today for the Prime

Minister to meet with the Nauruan President, but as Nauruan President, but as Tony

said, she had another said, she had another pressing

engagement with the former

prime minister and so that's

basically where we're at today.

It was a good opportunity to

take further from our

discussions of just over a week

ago, and for Tony and his the

leader. REPORTER: What about the costs?

Just on the costs, as said before, this was not an

official negotiation. This was

an opportunity to explore the

opportunity if we were elected

in a few weeks' time to enter

into such negotiations into such negotiations and their ability and preparedness

to do so and it was

crystal-clear that they are able to do that. The Australian

Government currently gives just under $30 million in foreign

aid to Nauru. That has been the

case for some period of time

and is something that should continue to enjoy bipartisan

support, I would hope. Can support, I would hope. Can I just make another point -

in Brisbane en route to a

conference. We took the opportunity to meet with him, the Government did not. The President is in Brisbane

President is in Brisbane today,

the President of Nauru. We took the opportunity to meet with

him, the Government did not. The Pacific Islands Forum was

held last week. The President of Nauru was present at the forum. The Foreign Minister of Australia Australia was present at Australia was present at the

forum and did not take the opportunity to speak to the

President of Nauru about the

processing centre, built and

paid for by the Australian

Government, and yet Government insists that it is

negotiating with East Timor to

build another centre, yet the Deputy Prime

Minister of East Timor says the

Government isn't negotiating

with East Timor. So we wanted

to be sure that should the

Coalition be Coalition be elected to

government, we would be in government, we would be in a

position to work with Nauru and they have confirmed again today

they are ready, willing and

able to re-open the processing

centre should the Australian

Government wish to negotiate

with them.

REPORTER: Mr Morrison, how

exactly will you determine what

standards will you use to determine if the processing

centre is still suitable for

asylum seekers? And what other


whether they should be sent

there? Well, the guidelines and

standards are set out by the

UNHCR and our obligations under

various other treaties. That's

always been the case. They were

the things we honoured when we

were last in government. We were last in government. We put

this plan into action and it

had the result that we hoped it

would achieve and that's the again. And there was a press conference held earlier today