29 October 2010

Australian PM tours Indonesia to discuss illegal Australian immigration and refugee issues

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has left the country on her first Asian tour, which includes a trip to Indonesia to discuss plans for a regional asylum-seeker detention centre and prevention of illegal Australian immigration.

Australian immigration

Illegal Australian immigration and people smuggling issues are high on the agenda during a regional tour by the Australian PM.

Gillard said the challenges of dealing with the influx of refugee boatpeople making the perilous sea voyage to Australia would be high on her agenda.

"Certainly I will raise the issues of people-smuggling and people movement," Gillard said about her trips to Malaysia and Indonesia. "The dialogue has been continuing."

Thousands of asylum-seekers, many from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, have been intercepted en route to Australia from Southeast Asian transit points this year.

Earlier this month Australian immigration Minister Chris Bown visited Indonesia, Malaysia and the tiny nation of East Timor, which Australia has nominated as a potential home for the regional detention centre.

East Timor has agreed to continue to discuss the proposal but remains cautious.

Gillard’s tour will start by her attending the East Asia Summit and the inaugural ASEAN-Australia summit in Hanoi before travelling to Malaysia where she will meet Prime Minister Najib Razak.

She will be in Jakarta on November 1 and 2 at the invitation of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.


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