14 Aug 2003

Ruddock not bothered by drug convictions for Nauru detention workers

9:42 am on 14 August 2003

The Australian Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock hasdefended the federal government's Pacific solution in the face of drug charges against guards at an Australian detention camp on Nauru.

Mr Ruddock says three people employed by the International Organisation for Migration to run the Nauru camps had been charged with drug offences.

He says they've been dealt with in accordance with the law of Nauru

The Labour immigration spokeswoman Nicola Roxon says the charges highlight the problems with detaining asylum seekers overseas as part of the government's Pacific solution to illegal immigration.

In another development, a Senate committee report has unanimously recommended scrapping the Pacific solution.

It says the Pacific strategy is considered to feed the perception within the region that Australia's domestic political considerations are more important than broader regional issues.

And it says issues were also raised over a lack of transparency of strategy and the extent to which the uncertainty was causing more political instability in an already unstable region."

But Mr Ruddock says the Pacific solution has worked and worked exceedingly well for the Australian community,