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ABC News Breakfast -

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independence. Let's go back

to Canberra now and Rob Oakeshott, the Independent MP

who has been trying to end the

political deadlock has pleaded

with his colleagues in the

upper house to give the bill

their approval. He joins us now from Parliament House. Thank

you very much. We spoke about

this bill just a couple of

months ago on this program and

you were hopeful at the time

that your parliamentary

colleagues would support it.

Did you ever envisage that the

support would come under these circumstances? No, I

didn't. And nor do I like it

that we're seeing some pretty

graphic images around Christmas

Island that no-one like, no-one

wants and I say that across the

Parliament that there is no-one

in this building who is

enjoying what they're seeing. But hopefully this bill

that has been before the House

since February, if there is

something that we take home before going away from

Parliament for the next two

months, it is at the very least

trying to respond to stopping

the deaths with people making a

very dangerous journey to

Australia by boat and also

committing to working with

Indonesia and the Indonesian

President is here next week.

Wouldn't it be great if today

this Parliament green lighted

something that allowed a Prime

Minister with the Indonesian

Prime Minister next week to

start working on a regional

solution to slow the movement

of people in the Asia Pacific region. But does it all amount

to nothing, given the Senate

will not pass this? Look,

potentially. But this is a

really important day for

Senate. I think this is a really important day for four particular leaders - the Prime

Minister, Christine Milne, who

you just had on, Tony Abbott. I

also would hope no-one

Territory Government s War en -

Warren Truss, the nabl National

Parties leader who sits on the

numbers to get this through as

well. Today is a leadership

test for the four of them.

Whilst I am not confident my

bill will get to the end of

today and necessarily get

through, I am hopeful that

those four people in good faith

will work in the national

interest and negotiation

something to stop the deaths

and slow the movement of people in the Asia Pacific region. Do

you despair that is really

unlikely to happen? I wouldn't

be doing this right now. Am

hopeful and I encourage through

your show any Senator who is

watching to really big dig deal

in their conscience today and

to push their party to

negotiate. And I encourage

through your show the

Australian people to get in

touch with Senators and get in

touch with leadership of those

political parties to say we

need to do something. This is

an option that has a sunset

clause of 12 month. Let's give

it a go and if it fails we can

then try something else. But at least let's try this. Symbolically, would it

have made a difference if you

had garnered yesterday the

support of Liberal moderates

like Mal Washer? Well, Mal, I

gather indicated to leadership

of parties that he was going to

support the bill, if the number

was required. You saw movement

in the House where he was back

and forth on that issue. I am a

huge fan of Mal Washer. He in

many ways was a bit of a

circuit breaker last weekend

when in an ABC interview he

indicated his frustration. So

to his credit he has got a ball

roll thlg week amongst

parliamentarians where a group

of six of us met on Monday.

That turned into an

extraordinary number of 42

yesterday. And that group will

continue, I hope, to work for

long-term solutions on the

suite of issues, not just on

asylum seekers but the full

spectrum right through to the

sex trade and people

trafficking which is alive and

well and which Australia doesn't pay much attention to

and should. This policy will

set up a regional framework.

What humanitarian assurance s

are there in place For all

their tough talk, the Coalition

has always opposed Malaysia and

the people swap deal because

the country isn't a signatory

to the UN convention. The bill

that went through yesterday

doesn't mention Malaysia or

Nauru directly right. It is

you're right about a regional

framework and in that framework

there are signatory country,

about 50 of them in the Asia

Pacific as well it's got the

UNHCR intimately involved and

it's got the international

office of migration and the Red

Cross. We can't get a better

standard of engaugement than

that for the Asia Pacific

region. There are principles of

a humanitarian nature written

into the principles of what is

known as the Bali process that

we're trying to codify in

Australian law. And every move

that a Minister would make

based on this legislation would

have to be tabled in

Parliament. Our UN Hillary

Clintoner - hundred hker and

the international office of

migration or the Minister would

have to get a letter that would also be tabled in

Parliament. So any move a

future Minister makes has to

run the gauntlet of the

Parliament in a very public

move. I don't think you can get

a much higher humanitarian

standard than that. With the

full engagement of the

humanitarian bodies and the

transparency of the Parliament

combined. OK, Rob Oakeshott,

we've run out of time, we will

have to leave it there. Thank