5 Jun 2011

PM urged to ditch Malaysian swap deal

11:48 am on 5 June 2011

The opposition in Australian is urging Prime Minister Julia Gillard to ditch a refugee swap deal with Malaysia and reopen the Nauru detention centre.

The federal government was forced to again defend the Malaysia agreement on Saturday after 14 Labor MPs in Western Australia signed an open letter opposing it.

The UN's refugee agency has also withdrawn their support for the proposed agreement since the Government confirmed that unaccompanied children would be among the 800 asylum seekers to be sent to Malaysia.

Australia is to accept 4000 registered refugees from Malaysia in return.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the best thing Ms Gillard can do now is reopen the detention centre in Nauru, used during the Howard-era Pacific Solution.

''She should put her stubbornness aside, she should put her pride to one side and do the right thing and do the humane thing, do the thing which we know will work and pick up the phone to the president of Nauru and she should do it straight away,'' he said.

The ABC reports another asylum seeker boat was intercepted near Christmas Island on Saturday, carrying 59 people.