17 Aug 2013

PNG public encouraged to support challenge to asylum seeker policy

4:50 am on 17 August 2013

Asylum seekers and members of the public are being invited to join a constitutional challenge against Australia's tough border protection agreement with Papua New Guinea.

Lawyers acting on behalf of PNG's opposition have taken out an advertisement in the Port Moresby based Post Courier newspaper.

PNG's opposition have launched a legal challenge against the deal and it is expected to come before the court on Tuesday morning.

PNG's foreign minister Rimbink Pato says the government will introduce legislation in Parliament in September to stop legal challenges to the asylum seeker processing scheme.

The government will also create special visa classes for asylum seekers resettled in PNG.

The department of immigration says it is considering feeding resettled asylum seekers into available jobs in the public and private sectors.

A department spokesman says there are associated issues that officials are working through, such as requirements for permits and so forth.

The opposition launched its legal challenge two weeks ago, after Australia and PNG announced an expanded asylum seeker processing plan.

An earlier challenge was dismissed after it was found the opposition did not use the correct legal mechanism to bring the case.

There are about 300 asylum seekers being housed at the Australian-run centre on Manus Island.