2 Jun 2011

Solomons opposition blasts government over asylum seeker offer

7:00 am on 2 June 2011

The Solomon Islands opposition leader says the government was wrong to link a centre for Australia's asylum seekers with the need to police the border with Papua New Guinea.

Dr Derek Sikua has said it was embarrassing to hear the offer made to Australia by the Solomons' prime minister, Danny Philip.

Mr Philip said Australia could run a detention camp on Stirling Island near the PNG island of Bougainville.

But Dr Sikua says Mr Philip should have waited for a request from Australia.

And he says siting the centre near the border with a view to using Australian police or soldiers to improve border security was also wrong.

"Really if it is to do with a military presence then we should go to Australia or New Zealand separately, on asking assistance on that particular basis. But I don't think we should mix the refugee processing centre with the need for strengthened border surveillance between ourselves and Papua New Guinea. Those are two different things."