1 Jun 2011

Solomons opposition open to housing Australia's asylum seekers

3:09 pm on 1 June 2011

The Solomon Islands opposition leader, Dr Derek Sikua, says he would consider housing asylum seekers in the country and an offer from the government to Australia should not have been made.

The prime minister Danny Philip offered Australia to house its asylum seekers on a remote island near the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville.

Dr Sikua has called the bid embarrassing and says the Solomons should have waited for a request from Canberra.

He says he's not necessarily opposed to hosting such a centre and recognises Solomon Islands' commitments under the Refugee Convention.

"We do have our international obligations and therefore we need to be mindful of that as a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, but my view is that we should wait to be approached, either by Australia or the custodians of that particular Convention before we start having discussions, but not for us to go out and start making offers."