1 Mar 2013

Nauru disarray suits Canberra, says refugee advocate

4:02 pm on 1 March 2013

A refugee advocate says news that Nauru is likely to go into early elections will suit the Australian government.

Nauru's Speaker today read a letter of dissolution to Parliament and it's expected that he will announce that the mid-year poll will be brought forward.

It comes amid weeks of division within the government that saw half the Cabinet replaced.

An election is likely to further delay interviews to assess the claims for refugee status by the more than 400 asylum seekers detained in the Australian run camp on Nauru.

A spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul, says Australia has known for months that it is dealing with a dysfunctional government and it will be happy with the latest developments.

"And it suits the [Australian] Government I think to put the asylum seekers in a place where there is no prospect of them being processed, but I think it is very clear now that it is a fundamentally unfair arrangement, and that rather than wait for some administration to become sufficiently competent with putting a processing regime in place, the Australian Government should bring the asylum seekers back to Australia where there is a processing regime and where their claims can be assessed."

Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition in Australia