13 Jun 2011

Australia opposition leader tours Nauru amid detention debate

6:59 am on 13 June 2011

Australia's opposition leader Tony Abbott has toured its detention centre on Nauru but the federal government says he is misleading Australians over the true cost of his plan to reopen the mothballed facility.

Mr Abbott and his immigration spokesman Scott Morrison flew to Nauru to meet President Marcus Stephen and examine the centre set up in 2001 as part of Australia's policy to process its asylum seekers abroad.

Mr Abbott wants to reopen the centre there as an alternative to the government's controversial and yet-to-be-finalised Malaysian refugee swap deal.

Mr Abbott said the Nauru option was more humane and cost-effective than the Malaysia solution.

Australia has also been in talks with Papua New Guinea to explore processing asylum seekers there.