18 Oct 2011

Australian Cabinet Minister rules out using Nauru for asylum seeker camp

8:54 am on 18 October 2011

A senior Australian cabinet minister has ruled out any chance his government will adopt Nauru as an option for the offshore processing of asylum seekers.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Trade Minister Craig Emerson as saying that the government won't embrace Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's push to revisit using a detention centre on Nauru.

Dr Emerson was responding to reports Immigration Minister Chris Bowen had proposed reopening the mothballed processing centre on Nauru as a way around the parliamentary impasse on asylum seekers.

In 2008 the Labour government closed Nauru, which was a main part of the Howard government's so-called Pacific solution for processing asylum seekers.

Chris Bowen reportedly asked cabinet to consider accepting the coalition's preferred choice of Nauru in return for opposition support for the government's scuttled deal to swap asylum seekers with Malaysia.

Dr Emerson defended Prime Minister Julia Gillard's decision to leave the Malaysia deal on the table as government policy.