You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

NZ says Australian refugee deal unlikely

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/10/2016 Rashida Yosufzai

New Zealand says there's "no appetite" from the Turnbull government to accept its offer to take refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.

There is speculation Malcolm Turnbull's proposed ban on refugees who arrive by boat from ever entering Australia could lead to the coalition accepting a longstanding offer from New Zealand to resettle 150 refugees a year.

But New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says that "hasn't really moved" anywhere and it's increasingly unlikely to happen.

"There's no obvious appetite from Australia to take up the offer," he said on Monday.

Mr Key said he couldn't envision a situation where a resettled refugee would gain New Zealand citizenship and not have travel rights to Australia.

"We've got no intention of having separate classes of New Zealand citizens."

The proposal has been met with criticism from refugee advocates with pressure on Labor to block the legislation to be put to parliament next week.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale says he's hopeful that "if Labor shows a little bit of courage on this issue", it could be struck down.

The coalition is ramping up its attack on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for not publicly stating a position on the ban within 24 hours of its announcement.

"This bloke is weak," former immigration minister Scott Morrison told Sydney radio station 2GB.

Labor has vowed to look at the legislation before coming up with a position.

Mr Shorten has given a qualified criticism of the plan, saying it is ridiculous and ludicrous "at face value".

But he's accused Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of pandering to One Nation and the right-wing of the Liberal party.

"This smacks of a desperate prime minister whose strings, when they're not being pulled by Tony Abbott, he is receiving his marching orders from the One Nation party."

One Nation is both applauding and claiming a win over the government's tough stance, with Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts saying the government was "dancing to our tune", while leader Pauline Hanson put it more bluntly.

"Refugees are not welcome here," she told the Seven Network.

Queensland Labor MP Graham Perrett said Labor would look at the laws, but told AAP he "couldn't believe Labor would ever support it".

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised the ban may contravene article 31 of the international refugee convention, which states signatory nations shall not penalise refugees for illegal entry when they have come directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened.

Amnesty International says the outrageous and unnecessary law discriminates against people seeking safety based on their mode of arrival, a clear breach of Australia's obligations.

"This is yet another layer of cruelty in Australia's already deliberately abusive policy," refugee campaigner Ming Yu Hah said.

Mr Turnbull insists the plan does not contravene the convention.

"We have taken legal advice and we are satisfied it is within power and consistent with our international obligations," he told reporters in outback South Australia on Monday.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said negotiations with other governments were underway.

But the NZ offer would not act as a disincentive to people smugglers because of the "open border" between the two nations.

Meanwhile, the debate comes as the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Francois Crepeau, is due to arrive on Tuesday to look at the government's migration policies and laws.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon