10 Jun 2002

Australian government says it is working with Nauru over asylum seekers

8:45 am on 10 June 2002

But the Australian government has denied ignoring Nauru.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock said Australian officials were in regular contact with their Nauru counterparts and were trying to process the asylum seekers as quickly as possible.

Australian officials have also pointed out that last year Nauru signed an open-ended agreement to hold up to 12-hundred at any one time.

The Australian government has also warned that new boatloads of asylum seekers have either left Indonesia or are preparing to depart.

And on Friday, it moved to extend Australia's immigration exclusion zone to include many of the country's remote northern islands....a move which means asylum seekers who reach Torres Strait and other islands are not deemed to have reached Australia for immigration purposes.

But Australia's opposition is calling on the government to respond to the claims made by the Nauru President saying his statements are dramatic and can't be ignored.