Australia shifts on refusal to send refugees to New Zealand

October 16, 2018 - 9:23 pm

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister has signaled that he could accept New Zealand's longstanding offer to resettle 150 refugees exiled to Pacific islands as long as the Australian Parliament legislates to ban them from ever setting foot in Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday he was willing to brief non-government senators on the travel ban bill.

The center-left opposition Labor Party argues that a lifetime ban on refugees ever visiting Australia on a tourist or businesses was unnecessary and against Australia's interests.

The conservative government is under mounting pressure to relax its five-year-old policy of banning asylum seekers who come by boat from ever settling in Australia.

Concerns are mounting over the fates of hundreds of asylum seekers languishing in immigration camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

AP Editorial Categories: