13 Jul 2010

Timor refugee processing plan scuppered

11:33 pm on 13 July 2010

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she's not deterred by opposition to her plan for a regional immigration processing centre in East Timor.

Ms Gillard last week said she was in talks with the East Timor and New Zealand governments about the proposal.

But the ABC reports New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, says Ms Gillard did not mention East Timor when she spoke to him.

On Monday, East Timor's parliament unanimously passed a resolution rejecting the idea.

However, only 34 of the 65 members of parliament were there for the vote.

It was an unwelcome glitch for Ms Gillard, who is thought to be poised to announce an early election date.

The ABC reports Ms Gillard has backed away from suggestions the centre would definitely go ahead after it was revealed she had only discussed the plan in a phone conversation with East Timor's president Jose Ramos-Horta.

She also discussed it by phone with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.