19 June 2006

Australian immigration tops news

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Proposed changes to Australia's immigration program are dominating the news headlines Down Under. Under a new piece of legislation being brought forward by the Howard government, asylum seekers, including women and children, would be processed offshore.

Previously, Australia has sent asylum seekers to detention centres on Nauru and the PNG island of Manus under what was known as the Pacific Solution.

Opponents to the bill say the new proposals breaches a ban on keeping women and children out of detention centres.

Prime Minister John Howard spent the weekend defending his government's actions which have been criticised as 'kow-towing' to the Indonesian government. A spate of recent incidents between the two governments over immigration issues and asylum seekers has led to the criticism.

Australian Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone, has been working hard to fight opposition in the government's own ranks and has post-poned voting over the proposed immigration bill twice.

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