10 Jan 2003

Australian Opposition suggests Pacific solution may have caused the collapse of Nauru's government

4:16 pm on 10 January 2003

Australia's Opposition Labour Party has warned that the country's so called "Pacific solution" of processing asylum seekers overseas may be responsible for political instability in Nauru.

Labour's foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd says Australia should consider if it was causing political upheaval in Nauru after President Rene Harris' Government was reportedly dumped this week after a vote of no confidence.

He has told ABC Radio that Australia needs to be concerned if the policies of its government bring political instability to its Pacific neighbours.

The fall of Mr Harris has been blamed in part on his acceptance of hundreds of asylum seekers from Australia in return for millions of dollars in extra aid.

The Opposition immigration spokeswoman Julia Gillard says Australia's relationship with Nauru should not be determined by its willingness to provide detention centres, but on true diplomacy and aid relationships.

Meanwhile the acting Australian Prime Minister John Anderson has been quoted by Radio Australia saying the situation on Nauru remains fluid and it would be premature to declare that the island has a new President.