Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
New Zealand snubs Australia on asylum seekers -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Government is yet to respond to the snub from the New Zealand Government
which has rejected Canberra's request to assist it by accepting asylum seekers.

With the asylum seeker standoff on the Oceanic Viking now in its fourth week, the Government is
trying to find a third country to take the 78 Sri Lankans.

Senior minsters say they're confident that Indonesia will extend its security clearance for the
Customs ship to remain in Indonesian waters beyond Friday's deadline.

But the Federal Opposition says the crisis is proof that the Prime Minister must reintroduce some
of the Howard government's asylum seeker measures.

In Canberra, Samantha Hawley reports.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Seventy-eight Sri Lankan asylum seekers were transferred to the Australian Customs
ship, the Oceanic Viking, 23 days ago and they're still refusing to disembark in Indonesia.

The Prime Minister says he has infinite patience but the Government's scrambling to find a

MALCOLM TURNBULL: We have another day and another day of policy failure by the Rudd Government.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: It's an issue giving the Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull traction in the polls
and one the Government will hope to solve before Parliament resumes next week after a fortnight

The Government is seeking a third country to take the 78 Sri Lankans after a they are detained for
a short time in Indonesia.

Canada and New Zealand are on the list.

But in a major rebuff, New Zealand's Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman has rejected the

In a statement he says:

JONATHAN COLEMAN (voiceover): The New Zealand Government does not believe that an ad hoc approach
to dealing with individual cases like the Oceanic Viking will send the right message. We're wary of
rewarding actions that seek to jump the queue for entry to New Zealand. Sending the wrong message
won't help solve similar situations that may arise in the future.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: In the statement Mr Coleman also says the Bali Process, an agreement that's
focused on prevention, is the best way to stop people smuggling.

JONATHAN COLEMAN (voiceover): For these reasons the New Zealand Government would be unlikely to
offer settlements to asylum seekers onboard the Oceanic Viking. I have conveyed this to my
Australian counterpart and both governments will continue to keep closely in touch on the issues

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: It's also been reported that another option being considered is sending the asylum
seekers to a detention centre in the Philippines.

Malcolm Turnbull says the Prime Minister is failing on every front.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: He's tried the Indonesian solution, he's tried the Philippines solution and now
the New Zealand solution and there's no solution in sight.

What Mr Rudd needs to deliver is a Rudd solution and he cannot do that until he recognises and
accepts the colossal failure of policy as a consequence of his unpicking the policy framework of
the previous government that worked - that kept the people smugglers at bay; that stopped the
unauthorised arrivals.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Opposition's immigration spokeswoman Sharman Stone says the tough Howard
government policies need to be revisited.

SHARMAN STONE: Well when we had a situation not dissimilar back in 2001 there was an immediate
response. In fact legislation was put into the House within three days. We had a very urgent
response which at that time created alternative visas for these people which said you're not going
to step into Australia on a permanent residency basis with a view to citizenship.

Rudd should move very quickly to address a whole suite of strategies, and it won't be just one
element, a suite of strategies that will put out the message that we do not have an open back door.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The World Today was told that the Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor would be
available for interview.

But later a spokesman says the Minister had been called away to a meeting and was no longer

In a statement the Minister says he will not discuss hypothetical third country options and the
Government's focus in is on disembarking the asylum seekers in Indonesia.

ELEANOR HALL: Samantha Hawley in Canberra.