1 Jun 2004

Former inmate on PNG's Manus island arrives in Australia

10:33 am on 1 June 2004

The last asylum seeker to be held by Australia on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea has arrived in Melbourne under a new visa.

The federal government had detained Aladdin Sisalem, who's twenty-five, on Manus island for seeking to enter Australia.

For the last nine months the Palestinian has been the only inmate of the Manus Island detention centre.

Mr Sisalem told reporters after arriving at Melbourne Airport last night that he wanted to thank his lawyer, Eric Vadarlis, who'd helped get him a temporary protection visa.

Meanwhile, Australia's Attorney General, Philip Ruddock says the Manus detention centre will not shut for good.

Mr Ruddock says it will stay on standby and he said authorities might well have to 'activate' it again.

A spokesman for the PNG Foreign Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu, says the situation of Manus Island will be discussed at talks with the Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, on Friday.