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Australian Agenda -

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Australia's news channel. This is PM Agenda.

Good after noon welcome

to the program I am David Speers, it is full steam

ahead for the reopening of

asylum seeker processing

Prime Minister Julia Gillard centres in PNG and Nauru.

spoke to the leaders of the

respective countries, both of

them this morning, they have

given agreement to cooperate

with Australia, the details

are still to be worked out and coming up question will

be talking to Nauru's Foreign

Minister, Kieren Keke, about

what it is going to take to

reopen a centre or centres in

Nauru. How it will go down

with the locals there, and

also his concerns about the

timeframes here. How long

Australia actually spend in will asylum seekers sent by

Nauru. He wants more clarity

on this as we will hear from Nauru's Foreign Minister,

coming up on the program.

This issue of the timeframe

is a central part of what the

Houston committee recommended

yesterday. It wants what's

called a no advantage

principle. So people who try

to come here by boat are

given no advantage over those

who would apply through camp

through the proper channels

elsewhere, or in Malaysia, it

could see them stuck in Nauru

or Manus Island for years,

something the Prime Minister

Julia Gillard is keen to

emphasis but it is the big

fear or criticism of refugee

advocates they say it could

see asylum seekers lanishing

for years a-- lanishing for

years in these detention

centres. Someone who has been

a well-known and jet spoken

critic in offshore processing

is Malcolm Fraser, he's not shifted his view on this and

what's more he fears what's

about to be set-up in Nauru

and Manus Island will

actually be worse than the

Howard Government's Pacific

Solution because of this

timeframe issue. We are also

going to marry from Malcolm

Fraser coming up this hour -- we are also going to hear

from Malcolm Fraser coming up

this hour. Hear is a little

what he had to say. It will

be a harsher policy than the policy John Howard implemented because of that

and because of that there

will be more mental traumaa,

there will be more mental

break down, more attempted

suicides and you also have to

remember that children will

be in these detention

centres. More from Malcolm

Fraser coming up. In the

meantime parliament has begun

debating the amendments to

the Migration Act necessary

for this offshore processing

to resume. We have seen that

in the last half hour, both sides getting stuck in the

amendments were introduced by

the Immigration Minister

Chris Bowen, he declared the

time has come for action and for the politicking to be put

to one side.

We stand today at a clear

point of decision. As I said

earlier the time for action

passed long ago. We are

committed to implementing these recommendations, and I

thank the Opposition for their indication of support.

And I thank the member for

Cooke for the joint

preparation of this

amendment. The Australian

people expect nothing less

than action, and the people

smugglers fear nothing more.

The Opposition after

negotiating some amendments

with Chris Bowen, Scott

Morrison and Chris Bowen have been going back and forth on

this today, the Opposition

will be supporting these amendments ensuring the

change also go through

parliament, a vote in the

House is expected later

tonight after another lengthy

debate. And sometime in the

Senate this week, a defence

recognisance team will then

hit the ground in Nauru and

PNG to look at what's needed

to set up temporary

processing facilities. The

Prime Minister hopes that the

temporary processing

facilities will be ready to go and asylum seekers sent

there within a month. But

Tony Abbott isn't letting the

Prime Minister get away with

what is a big policy turn

around, without rubbing her

nose in it. Here was the contribution to the debate Opposition Leader's

this afternoon. This has

been a long, long time

coming. But if something is

worth doing it is worth doing

belatedly. He pointed out all the Prime Minister has

had to say over the years, in

rubbishing the Nauru offshore processing plan of the Coalition's, now of course it

is something Labor is

supporting but the Opposition

haven't got everything their

own way, coming up we look

what this policy is now going

to mean, how effective it is

going to be and the politics

of it as well as we have mentioned, Nauru's Foreign

former Prime Minister Malcolm Minister joining us, the

Fraser as well, our panel a

little later, Malcolm Farr

and Kerry Anne Walsh and

hearing from Paul Kelly 'The Australian', lots coming up

on the topic today, first we

will check in on the other

top stories. Back to the news

centre and Vanessa Trezise.

Hello, nearly 40,000 upset

ANZ customers are taking the

bank to the High Court today.

Fed up with its fees. The lawyer representing the customers says the action is

part of a wider claim involving eight banks and

over $200 million in fees.

The High Court has begun

hearing Australia's largest

class action case today, with

38,000 ANZ success Tommers

tanking on the bank over its

-- taking on the banks over

its fees, it is alleged fees

are out of proportion with

the actual cost. It's a

complex, there are

significant resources against

us and we are looking to

expand the doctrine of

penalties. So that's a

challenge but it's a fight we

are up for and one we are

cost we will win. The class action covers fees relating

to overdrafts, overdrawn

accounts and dishonour fees.

The High Court is asked to

determine whether the charges

are penalties or fees for a

service. One bank has now

reduced most of these charges

to zero. What does that tell

you about what they charged

in the past? One bank chief

executive has said that these

charges were, and I quote, completely inappropriate.

What does that tell you about the fairness of what banks have been doing to their

customers? Morris Black

burn started Federal Court

proceedings against the bank

in 2010 with a Gwydir case

involving over 170,000 kusz

torms of eight major banks.

A woman has been taken to hospital suffering shock, after her home was targeted

in a drive-by shooting in

Sydney's south-west. Five

people were inside when

several shots were fired into

the family home at Roselands,

a special task force sent up to investigate gun crime are

now involved in the case.

Queensland Premier Campbell

Newman says he doesn't know

which public servients will

lose their jobs under a

reclassification of state-run

services. It effects around

25,000 employees, and means

some workers in previously positions described as

essential services are now

deemed expendable. Sky News

Brisbane reporter Joel Philp

has the details. Months ago premier Campbell Newman made

a promise to workers in the

public service sector if they

performed essential front

line services their jobs will

not be under threat but all

the while the government was

planning to change the

criteria for front line

services. Now, 25,000 workers

that thought they were safe

also face the axe under cost conversation cutting measures

by the government. This has

been the hardest thing that

myself or the cabinet I am

sure have ever had to do in

our lives and maybe the

hardest thing we have ever

had to do, see people leave

and we are very, very sorry

that people are wearing this personally. That breadwinners

are wearing this. But we have no alternative ladies and

gentlemen. Workers need to

spend at least 75% of tham

time in direct contact with

the -- of their time in

direct can't with the public

to remain safe. The Premier

has brushed off criticism the

uncertainty is creating an atmosphere of fear in

Queensland. Unions say the

reclassification of the term

front line is political spin

used to justify axing

essential services. The

premier says the

reclassification is only for

administrate ing purposes and

no more than 20,000 public servants will lose their jobs

in Queensland. Most of these

workers are likely to learn

their fate by September.

The free Syrian army

claims to have shot down a

fighter jet and captured the

pilot. The plane came down in

Mohassan in the east of the

country. State television denied the jet was shot down

and claims it went down to a

technical problem. Sky News

reporter David Bowden is on

the Turkish Syrian border.

It has been emerging from

Syria which claims to be the

pilot having been captured by

the Free Syrian Army. Let me

go through what they say they

said to him. So they start

off, with an FSA soldier,

asking this pilot, in

inverted commas, who are you.

And the pilot then replies, I

am Colonel pilot Mohammadd Sleimann. The soldier then asked, what were you tasked

with doing. The pilot, he

says was tasked with

bombarding Der Mohassan in

the east of the country as

you said before. Then he says

what have you got to say to

members of ASSAD's army? The

pilot then says, I tell them

to leave from the gang. Ie,

defect. Then the soldier

says, how did you get this

mark on your face? The pilot

says, I got it from the fall

of the plane. And how have

you been treated, says the

soldier? The parliament then

says they treated me, they -- the pilot then says they

treated me, they gave me

first aid. We have no idea

whether this man is the pilot, a pilot, whether he's

been captured or whether he's

a member of the FSA just

wheeled on but you get an

idea of the propaganda war

that is going on in parallel

with the real war in Syria.

There has been another deadly

shooting in the US. This time

near the A and N university

in College Station. Enforcement officers were serving an eviction notice at

a home just off the campus,

when a man inside started

shooting. The police returned

fire. When it was over, a county constable, the gunman

and another man were dead.

Two other officers and a

woman were wounded. A

strong 7.3 magnitude

earthquake has rattled

north-eastern Japan. There

has been no immediate reports

of casualty or damage and no

tsunami warning has been

issued. It struck of Hokkaido

at a dental of depth of 5 --

depth of 5790 KM Quick look

at the weather for tomorrow:

Now back to David

Speers in Canberra as 'PM

Agenda' continues. Thanks

very much after the break on

PM Agenda we will hear from Nauru's Foreign Minister

about what it's going to take

to reopen a processing centre

for asylum seekers there.

You're watching PM Agenda

as we have seen in the last

hour, parliament has begun debates amendments to the

Migration Act to allow

offshore processing to resume

in Nauru and Manus Island in PNG. After some negotiations

between the Government and

the Opposition, both sides

have agreed this will go

through the parliament, and

it could indeed go through the Lower House tonight. There is going to be a

lengthy debate. The

Opposition while supporting

what the government is now

doing isn't letting it get

away with it lightly. It

knows this is a big policy turn around and throughout

question time this afternoon

the Coalition used every opportunity to rub the

Government's nose in it.

Over 100 occasions over the past four years the Coalition

has called on her to swallow

her pride and pick up the

phone to the President of

Nauru to restart offshore

processing, meanwhile there

has been over 100 deaths,

22,000 illegal rivals, more

than 8,000 people denied protection adviceas waiting

offshore and a 4.7 billion blowout in the budget. Why

was it wrong to pick up the

phone then but right today?

Prime Minister why did the

Government abolish offshore

processing on Nauru four

years ago? Will she now

accept at least some, at

least some responsibility for

the results, namely 22,000

illegal arrivals, a thousand

deaths and a $4 .7 billion

budget blowout. Speaker the

perform has the call. -- with

the Prime Minister has the

call. I am of course prepared

to accept responsibility for

my actions as Prime Minister, my actions as Deputy Prime

Minister, my actions as a

member of this Government. I

am prepared to do that every day that I am in this

Government. I accept responsibility for my

actions. But the bedroom

tried to avoid politics --

but the Prime Minister tried

to avoid politicking she

acknowledges she made a big

compromise here but she says

the time is for action and

the Government is hoping this

legislation will get through

as soon as possible. Defence recognisance team also hit

the ground in Nauru and PNG

by the end of the week to

look what is needed there to

set up temporary facilities,

the Government hopes to have asylum seekers on their way

there within a month. One of

the big differences between this plan and the Howard Government's solution sluice

is the so-called no advantage

-- sluice is the so-called no

advantage test. This meaning asylum seekers trying to get

here by boat and then sent to

Manus Island or Nauru will be

given no advantage to those

who will apply through a

refugee camp in Indonesia,

Malaysia or elsewhere, they

could spend years or indefinite period of time

stuck in Nauru or Manus Island. Here was the Prime Minister endorsing and emphasising why this is

important. What the report

is saying to us we should do

is we should work out what processing times are and make

an equivalent, that would require careful advice from

UNHCR. We take that advice so

I'm not going to nominate a

figure before we take that

advice but as a question of

principle, do I think we

should do that, yes I do. The

Houston report recommends it.

This is what refugee

advocates are most concerned

about. The Greens want a 12

month time limit on

processing, and keeping

asylum seekers in these

places. One well-known

refugee advocate is the former Prime Minister Malcolm

Fraser. We will hear from him

a little later in the program he fears because of this

timeframe issue this is going

to be worse than the Howard

Government's Pacific

Solution. First to Nauru, and

what actually needs to happen

to get a detention centre reopened there. And how will

it be received by the locals.

And how indeed does the Nauru

Government feel about this

uncertainty around the

timeframe of sending asylum

seekers there. I spoke a

little earlier to the Foreign

Minister of Nauru, Dr Keke. Sh Foreign Minister thanks

for your time can I start by

asking what needs to happen

in Nauru before processing, a

processing centre or processing centres can be

reopened? David it really

depends a lot on what the

Australian Government en

visibleages in the kind of -- envisages in the kind of

centre to be established.

Today Prime Minister Gillard

spoke with our President, and formalised the request for

Nauru to host the centre and

we have agreed to that. She's

advised that the government,

Australian Government's

intention is to employ a

mission as early as by the

end of the week. And we

understand that that mission

will be really looking at a

lot of the details of exactly

where and how and what is

needed. There were two sites

used last time around, under

the Pacific Solution, there was the top side camp and

there was also the state

house site. What state are

these sites now in and how

long would it take to reopen them? Both former sites are

currently being used for

different purposes. The state

house site is currently

housing temporary primary

school, and the top side site is housing one of the

state-owned corporations that deals with land

rehabilitation. We have had some internal discussions

about the options with those

sites and we think that if

there is a view for

establishing a centre as

quickly as possible that

looking at reopening one of

those may be the quickest or

the most efficient way to go

about it. There's obviously

some work that needs to be

done with either site in

terms of the accommodation,

but both have the main utilities connected and they

have a number of fanks of

nunksal buildings. But --

functional buildings but it

will also be a need to look

at the support services in

terms of catering and the

other facilities that

residents would need. 12

years ago when the Howard Government first negotiated

with Nauru, the opening of a

processing centre there,

along with covering the costs

of the centre, the Howard

Government offered $20 million in financial

development assistance to

Nauru and then a further $10

million down the track. Is Nauru seeking financial

assistance on top of the

running costs this time

around? No, that's not been

our approach at all to this. Australia's maintained a very

significant amount of

assistance to Nauru on an

annual basis. And that's been

really crucial to Nauru's redevelopment and recovery

from the lows that we saw 12

years ago in 2001. Nauru's in

a very different situation

now. And due to a lot of that

is due to Australia's

assistance. But also we have

re-established fosnate mining

which -- phosphate mining is significant revenues the

fisheries sector is doing

well and generally our economy is very, very

different today as compare ed

to what it was in 2001. So

our approach has not been

long that line at all, it has been very much on the basis

that Nauru has a very strong

relationship with Australia,

we have asked Australia for

help in the past and that's

been provided. Australia's

seeking our assistance and

Nauru's willing to provide assistance in the ways that

we can. Nonetheless is this

seen as something that will

be a boost to Nauru's

economy? Or on the other

hand are there concerns about

what this does to Nauru's

reputation. I recall lat time

around some were concerned

about being seen as a bit of a Pacific island prison camp.

Is that a concern at all? We

certainly don't agree with

those kinds of perceptions

from the past. And I think

that was one of the things

that we - certainly towards

the latter years of the

former hosting tried to reset

by making the facilities more

open to media and refugee

advocates and other people

interested in the centre. It

certainly is not the way that

we saw it. Not the way that

it operated on the ground.

But they had - they were

provided with excellent facilities, were well cared

for, had a lot of support

services, and we believe that

the centre here actually

provided probably one of the

best facilities of that kind

in the world. So we would be

looking to try and make sure

that people understood that

that's what we aim to work

towards, with the Australian

Government. That Nauru in

hosting such a centre places

a high priority on the

welfare of the individual

asylum seekers, we understand

that this is a major

challenge for Australia, we

are willing to assist with

that challenge but we also

have a very high regard for

the welfare of the individual

asylum seekers. Despite all

of that, we did see reports

showing the psychological

damage that many asylum

seekers suffered there. I

know this is early days in

negotiating the details, what

more do you think can be done

to improve the well-being of

those who are sent to

Nauru? To be frank I believe

that the single most

significant factor in that caused a lot of distress for

the asylum seekers was

uncertainty. And I don't

believe that that can be significantly altered

wherever they are located.

But they will have

uncertainty whether they are

in Nauru, they will have uncertainty whether they are

on the mainland in Australia,

or whether they are being

processed in any other

country for that matter. It's

a matter of requiring a

process to determine whether

an individual is eligible to

be a refugee and then once found to be a refugee there

is still a process required to resettle that person. I

think the best that becan all

try to aspire to -- we can

all try to aspire to is make

that process as manageable and comfortable as opossible. Let Government and

people of Nauru will be

comfortable with the

indefinite nature of this

because the Prime Minister

here is very much talking up

the fact they will be sent

there, for possibly years as

long as it would take someone

applying for refugee status

through a refugee camp

elsewhere, that this so-called no advantage will

apply. So they could be there

for quite some time. Is Nauru

comfortable with that

Sydney. Look, the time -- is Nauru comfortable with

that The timeframe is something we want to discuss further with Australia. We

know that is a key element in

how people feel whilst they

were in Nauru but we --

whilst they are in Nauru but

we also do recognise there is

a process that's required. What position is at the

moment, we are open to

discussing that but we also

want some kind of reasonable timeframe. What's reasonable

in your view as to how long

people should spend there? I think that's something that

we are yet to discuss in more

detail with Australia. And we

will get to that with them. Would five years for example

be too long? We will discuss

that with Australia and look

at what the options are.

Foreign Minister, Kieren

Keke, I appreciate your time,

thanks for joining us. You're welcome, thank you very

much. We are going to hear a

little later from the former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser

on this, he's a well-known

critic of offshore processing but how does this new Pacific

Solution compare to the old Pacific Solution? He thinks it could be worse. We will

bring you that shortly. First

we will go to 'The

Australian' editor at large

Paul Kelly skroins me now,

what do you think about the policy and is the big

question is to going to work,

is it actually going to stop

boats coming? That is the big

question, David. I think it

will only work if the Australian political system

sends a very strong message

to asylum seekers and to the

smugglers that the rules have

changed, the rules are different, we have now

toughened up. And this is not

just a change in the short

term, this is a change in the

longer term. So I think it

will be hard to reverse the

impression, but this is a

very good report, and it

gives the Government a chance

to do it. Part of sending

that tough message is this no advantage principle that

Angus Houston has recommended and Julia Gillard's been

championing. So that those

who are sent, try to get here

by boat are sent to Nauru or

Manus Island, are treated the same as those who would

aapply for a refugee camp in

Indonesia or Malaysia. In

other words they could spend

years there after their

claims are processed.

Practically can that work?

How do you see this

working? Look, this is a very

tough report. Listening to

Angus Houston the other day,

you could be forgiven for

thinking that this is all

about sweet logic and

reasonableness. This is a

very tough document. We have got a new Pacific Solution

which is tougher than the old

Pacific Solution, they want

the mal Asian arrangement

sorted out and implemented

they want new arrangements

with end Indonesia they have

got a tough attitude towards

family reunion and, when it

comes to the Pacific Solution

they have got this new

principle which they call the

no advantage test, that is,

the people who come here by

boat should not get an advantage over other people.

It means that people could

end up, that asylum seekers

could end up staying in PNG

and Nauru for a number of

years. You take it

literally, some refugee camps

it takes 10 year, it takes 20

years. We are not talking

about - if you're going

apply that literally you are

talking about a long, long

time. It is interesting that

Julia Gillard doesn't put a timeframe on it and to be

fair to her she can't. Angus Houston said it could be as

much as five years or longer

so he's put some sort of

figure on it. This will

create a lot of heart burn,

this I think... Particularly

in the left. I think so but

it also indicates the true

nature of this report. It is

a very tough document. I mean

the purpose of this document

is to stop the boats. What

about Julia Gillard Yes,

there obviously is some

uncomfortableness within

Labor but, by and large they

weren't very noisy yesterday,

they all got behind it so she's got the party with her

on this but it is a big turn

around for her and for

Labor. Look, she had to do

this. She had no choice.

She's done the right thing,

there was a deadlock in the

parliament, but what a

humiliation. Now I think this

is one of the most abject and

spectacular back downs that I

have seen in politics over

the last several decades

because remember, Labor came

in denouncing John Howard,

ridicules John Howard's

Pacific Solution. Ditched his

policy, stood on its own

moral superiority and what's

happened now? It's had

backed down and go and

retreat all the way back to

the John Howard solution. If

anything impose an even tougher Pacific Solution than

what John Howard had. Tony Abbott doesn't get everything

his own way here? He

certainly doesn't. I think

this point hasn't come out at

all so far. This report is

not really about Nauru, it's

not really about PNG. This

report is about a long term

regional strategy, and the principle here, the

foundation principle for this

strategy is essentially the

principle that Chris Bowen

applied when it came to the Malaysian arrangement and

that principle is, that we

take more refugees from the region, the report is

suggesting we increase the

humanitarian program to

20,000 and then 27,000, and

in return the deal is that

the region sets up more offshore processing arrangements which mean at

the end of the day that

anyone who comes here by boat

will be processed in the

region. Now that is a very

ambitious exercise, it is a

very difficult exercise, it

requires great cooperation

with Malaysia and Indonesia,

and so far I think it is most interesting to note that

Julia Gillard has endorsed

this report in full. Tony

Abbott hasn't. And the reason

he hasn't is because this

report is closer to Labor

thinking than Coalition thinking. In the long

term? In the long term. And I think the really interesting

thing is, will the Coalition

endorse it in the long term I don't think they will --

snoop thank you. We are

going to take a quick break. More to come. Stay with us.

A lot of people have

changed their views of course

on offshore processing since

the Howard Government's

Pacific Solution was in

place. Those in the Labor

Party none more so. They have

now gone full circle and are

backing offshore processing, they say a deterrent like

this is necessary and going

for Nauru and Manus Island.

The key planks of the Pacific

Solution after the recommendations from the

Houston committee yesterday.

The Greens refugee advocates,

and also the former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser

though maintain that offshore

processing does not deter

boat arrive rivals at all.

For his reaction to what the Houston committee has

recommended and now what the

parliament is going to

approve, I spoke to the

former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser a short while ago.

Well Malcolm Fraser,

thank you very much for your time can I start by asking

what your thoughts are on the

recommendations of the Angus

Houston committee. Well I'm

enormously disappointed. I

think three very decent

people have put forward a

pretty lousy proposal. It's

harsher in its consequences

than John Howard's Pacific

Solution. And it's not going

to work. They say this will

stop people getting on boats

because that's the only way

you're going to stop people

drowning at sea. But why then

are we spending what will

over time be billions of

dollars on offshore detention centres? If you are going -

if you think the policy will

work you're not going to need

those detention centres, and

it's going to be money that

will be wasted. So really the

underlying assumption in the

whole proposal is people will

go on getting on boats and

then they're going to be taken whenever they are

picked up to Nauru or PNG or

to some wretched offshore

centre. I think the thing

that the committee has

perhaps failed most on is

that the policy of deterrence

is almost proven not to have

worked. Not to have worked

anywhere. Now, I know the

Liberal Party claimed that it did in John Howard's time

when the boats stopped. When

they bought in the Pacific

Solution. But if you looked

at the number of asylum

seekers going to Europe which

had approached for a year or

two about 400,000 a year, the numbers going to Europe fell

just as dramatically if not more dramatically and none of

the countries of Europe had

introduced punitive deterrent

policies. What had changed

the Taliban had fallen in

Afghanistan, and the push

factors from countries from

which they were fleeing had

altered dramatically. So it

wasn't the deterrent factors that John Howard put in place

that stopped the boats, it

was quite changed

circumstances in

Afghanistan. So you know,

these are basic things which

I think the committee has

overlooked and not given adequate attention to. Perhaps they wanted to take a

bit of Labor policy, a bit of

Liberal policy and... When you look at the Australian

experience, we did see boats

stop arriving, when offshore

processing was introduced and

when the Labor government

then returned to onshore

processing we saw boats start

to arrive. Now do you concede

there has been a shift at

least in public sentiment on

this, that this debate has essentially been lost? When

it comes to offshore

processing? I don't know that

it has. The last polls I saw

showed a majority of people

believe that there should be

processing on shore. Now that

was a month or two ago.

What's changed in that month

or two I'm not too sure. But

whether the policy works or

not, depends not on what we

do as an Australian

Government, it depends on the

circumstances and the

countries from which people

flee. And if people are going

to be killed by the Taliban

because they want to educate

their daughters, and the

penalty for educating girls

under the Taliban was to be

shot, and I checked that

myself, there is nothing that

you can do to match the

terror from which people are

fleeing. And you know, these

people are judged or over 80%

are judged to be genuine

refugees, by a pretty tough

process. A process that

Australia has controlled. And

when you look at that you

know they are fleeing terror,

you know they are not just

economic migrants, if the

economic my ram rants they

will get sent -- migrants

they will get sent back, they

won't refugees. So our

policy is designed to be as

nasty as possible, to very,

vulnerable people and we shouldn't be particularly

proud of that. There have

been so many people losing

their lives at sea, 604 since

October 2009 trying to reach Australia. This argument

about treating the asylum

seekers poorly is outweighed

by the loss of life at sea,

that it's better to at least

not attempt that dangerous

journey? Well I agree. And

there are other ways in which

they really would not

attempt. I mean, what should

happen perhaps, take an

example from the Indo Chinese

exodus where there were tens of thousands of people processed in the holding

centre of Malaysia and we,

America and Canada took huge

numbers of people out of that

centre, you could establish a

holding centre in Indonesia

and then they would not want

to get on boats. But to do

that, to get the Indonesians

to agree, we would have to

say we are going to take a

very large number. And I

suspect the Government and

the Opposition just don't

want to do that. But your

question also overlooks the

fact that having processing

centres in Nauru and PNG and

whatever is not going to stop

people getting on boats. They

are still going to try to get

to Australia and you know,

the committee would not

recommend spending very large

sums on repairing and re-establishing those

offshore detention centres

unless they were confident

that people were going to get

on boats, because that's the

way you get to Nauru. You get

on a boat first, then you get

caught by Australia or by the

Indonesians, and you end up

in Nauru. So, the policy as

proposed implies that people

are going to go on trying to

get on boats. And just

finally, can I ask you, you

said this in many respects is

a harsher policy than the

Howard Government's Pacific

Solution. There will be

Mormoner toing of mental

health issues -- monitoring

of mental health issues,

there is this new principle

of no advantage, which means

asylum seekers could be stuck

on Nauru and Manus Island for

years and indefinite period

of time. That's something the

Prime Minister is

emphasising. Is this going to

be a harsher policy than the

Pacific Solution? It will be

a harsher policy than the policy John Howard

implemented because of that.

And because of that there

will be more mental trauma,

there will be more mental

breakdown, there will be more

attempted suicides, and you

also have to remember that children will be in these

detention centres. We are

not only defiling the refugee

convention, we are - I it

says that refugees should be

treated equally, if they are

genuine that people travel by

unorthodox means and often

without papers. It will also

be going totally against the convention and the rights of

the child. It goes against

all the rules against

unlawful imprisonment. So,

there is a great deal against

it. There are many Australian

values that are totally destroyed by this particular

policy. Former Prime

Minister Malcolm Fraser. Thanks so much for joining us

this afternoon. Going to bring in the panel now,

joining me in Canberra, Kerry

Anne Walsh, a political

commentator and Malcolm Farr

from News.com.au. I want to explore the details of what

this is going to mean in Nauru and Manus Island for those sent there because of

this timeframe issue. Malcolm

is it going to be worse do

you think than the Pacific Solution for those sent there

because of this vagueness

around the timeframe? We

don't know because we simply

don't know what is going to

exist when the first people

roll on to the islands. The

ultimate plan is that A, the

boats will stop, and B, there

will be more widespread

regional accommodation of and

processing of refugees and

asylum seekers. In Indonesia

and other places? Well,

hopefully all through -

yeah. And a speeded up

process of getting those in

official channels here to

ease the bottleneck. But, it

does have the capacity to

have people there for five

years plus, and we all know

that under the Pacific

Solution of John Howard's

Government, this led to all

sorts of personal

catastrophes, individual catastrophes, physical and

mental decay. That was well

documented in various reports

what was wrong with the

Pacific Solution. That's right. How does Julia

Gillard today didn't want to

get into time lines about

this question, she said they

will consult with the UNHCR

on this but presumably, if

they are going to look at an

average of what happens

across the region we are

talking about lengthy

waits. You are talking about some families have been in

camps in Malaysia for 10, 20

years. And you really you are

asking authorities to assess

how long is a piece of

string. Because it depends on

where people came from

originally. What their family

circumstances are. How many.

What countries will accept

them. All those sorts of

things have to be factored

in. I don't think that the

UNHCR is in a position to

say, certainly what I have read is there an an average

time, because there is no

average refugee, and it

depends on what the countries

of the region are prepared to

accept, what we as a country

are prepared to accept in

terms of family units and

raefrpgs and where they come

from and there is a whole

range of factors. Also you

have got to accept they are

going to Nauru around Manus

Island island as parts of

their quite punishment.

Nobody, the panel or anybody

else uses the word punishment

but that's what it is and it

is not a punishment if they

flick over to Nauru, wander

around for two weeks and then

they are back on in Australia. So they can

expect, no matter how comfortable their

accommodation there, they can

expect to be around for years

at least. If that happen the

pressure is going to come to

bear you think this will turn around on whoever is in Government, whether it is Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott,

there will will be an outcry

at some point if people are and particularly vulnerable

people, they say some

vulnerable people will be

brouktd back to Australia but

if they are left there for

five years plus. You actually

create an enormous

humanitarian problem on the

doorstep that the Australian

Government and opposition and

parliament will be

responsible for and one would

hope that factors into this

is a lot of loud talk and

they are hoping that what

it's about is... Sending a message with a

megaphone. Exactly, the old megaphone diplomacy again and

creating an environment where

they just shut down. The

boats shut down. Now, if that

doesn't happen though, I do,

I really think this is could

create an enormous problem

for us internationally in humanitarian terms and also,

just in terms of the way

Australia as a nation feels

about itself. To be treating

people like this. I don't

believe that Australians are

you know, all out there

waving banners, stop the

boats, stop the boats at any

cost. There is a very large

streak of people that believe

very strongly in refugee

right which is is a reason

for Labor punting their

voters going across to the

Greens. I accept that but one

of the initial objectives is

to stop people being lost at

sea. Exactly. So... That's

what changed people's view on

this. Even our role here

speculating on five plus

years, 10 years on Nauru, if

#2459sz going back on the

people -- going back on the

people smuggler Morse code it

might have that effect just

talking about it. That's -

didn't you know. Is that how

it works? They are watching

signs. I want to come back

and look at the politics of

all of this because which

ever way you cut it this is a

big turn around for Labor,

was it the right call for Julia Gillard, with us.

We we are joined this

afternoon by Malcolm Farr and

Kerry Anne Walsh, exploring

the politics that is

happening this week, this is

a big turn around for Labor, for years they railed against

the Pacific Solution for Tony

Abbott's plans for Nauru now

they will do it. Is it the

right call for the Prime Minister? Well, something had

to happen and it was quite

clever to establish a

so-called independent panel

to tell her what to do. It

was always going to come back

with something that was

offshore and the only glaring

solution around or the only

countries around were Nauru

and Manus Island. The panel

also found, yes Malaysia is a

good idea but it ain't

workable right now. No, it is

not workable right now, that's right but it hasn't

red lighted... No as Scott

Morrison suggested. As Scott

Morrison and Tony Abbott are

trying to maintain and they

have to work on that and make

Malaysia a more workable

something that is going to

work down the track if they

want a more far reaching

regional solution. Julia

Gillard says it is time for the politics to stop. Is that

the line used by someone who

is facing a situation where

the politics are pretty

unappetising if Sure is. To a

degree she is correct

inasmuch as many voters want

all the pal AVa to end and

some action to be taken, but, obviously the Prime Minister

doesn't want to be reminded

that this is an enormous

reversal of personal and

Labor Party policy. And, Tony

Abbott and Scott Morrison,

his immigration spokesman are

not going to let her off the

asylum seeker hook. They were relentless today in

rubbing her nose in it. They

will continue to do that. We

have been told there are

scores of Opposition MPs

lined up to debate this and

we also have the interesting question of Tony Abbott's

stool. He says that the

Opposition policy is a three

legged stool. And... Go on.

It's the most bizarre image

but I will let you

finish. And this legislation delivers only one of them

which is Nauru. Yeah, one

would hope that the... The other planks, temporary

protection visas. It is

completely, why couldn't they

just lose what everybody

uses. A prong or something.

But this will allow Tony

Abbott to... Malcolm Farru

we will allow Tony Abbott to maintain the attack on this one. Well, the thing is,

about it though, he really

seriously can't continue to

hammer Julia Gillard about

you know, I told you so, I

told you so and this was only

ever going to be the - one

it's not everything that they

advocate, two there are

significant differences

around the solution that that

has been - that the solution

has been propose ed by the

expert panel has been

accepted by Government. I

think it would be very -

it's going to be interesting

to see how this plays out in

the electorate, whether or

not the people see this as

just thank God government as

actually capitulate ed on

this or been seen to be

embracing some things of the Opposition. But oppositions

rarely get credit for

assisting governments to do things and I think Tony

Abbott will be aware of that

so he will still be piling on

the pressure. Just quickly,

you thought the stool was

funny have a look at Julia

Gillard's efforts today to show that she's taken control

of this. This issue. She

brought in the defence chief,

to talk about what they can

do immediately to get the

ball rolling, send a

recognisance team to Nauru

and PNG. Have a listen. How

quickly if we secure the

legislation this week and the

minister makes the

declarations of Nauru and

PNG, and we get an agreement

from Nauru and PNG to start

work on the facilities on

Nauru and PNG. How quickly we

could have defence ready to move. They are ready Thursday

evening, Friday morning, to

send a recognisance team with

the agents that need to be represented. That's

fantastic. As soon as you

give the nod those sort of

pre conditions are in place.

Commander-in-chief, does

that help? Well, look, I

don't know, it is very

difficult to know how this is

all going to play out in the

electorate. I do think, it is

a really curious line to say,

and she said it before the

winter break also, it's time

for the politics to stop.

Because when she says that

it's like, well that's all we

have been doing along anyway.

I just wonder where she gets

these lines from, because

they are really not - I

don't think they work. If you want to say look Tony, stop

it, we are doing what we can,

we are prepared to meet

halfway on this. She - he

always gets the better of her

in these sorts of propaganda

type of warfare out there.

The only thing that stops the politicking is the boats that actually stop. That's the reality of all of this. We

are out of time. Malcolm Farr

and Kerry Anne Walsh,

particularly for you to

keeping this show together.

We will be back with more

news right after the break.