28 Aug 2012

Manus Island asylum facility not illegal: PNG PM

3:24 pm on 28 August 2012

The Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O'Neill says he doesn't believe holding asylum seekers on Manus Island breaks any of the country's laws.

Mr O'Neill will meet with the Australian prime minister Julia Gillard during this week's Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit in the Cook Islands to discuss the processing centre.

Megan Whelan reports from Rarotonga.

"Peter O'Neill says it's up to Australia to get the Manus Island processing facility up to scratch for use. He says it it will require a lot of work and there's no time-frame on when that will happen. Mr O'Neill says PNG hasn't placed any preconditions on the Australian government for the use of the facility at Manus Island. He says the advice from the attorney general is that detaining asylum seekers at Manus Island doesn't break any PNG laws or the constitution. He says he'll raise the issue of a regional processing centre for the Pacific, not just for aylsum seekers but for illegal immigrants to Pacific Island countries, at this week's meeting."