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Turnbull says asylum bill is Labor test

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Malcolm Turnbull says a bill to ban boat-arriving asylum seekers from ever coming to Australia will be a test for the Labor opposition.

The government will bring the Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill to parliament next week.

Labor says it can't make a firm commitment on the bill until the full text is released for scrutiny by caucus.

The prime minister said it was an opportunity for Labor to correct a "tragic policy failure" by the Rudd government and a test for Labor leader Bill Shorten who had said he was on a "unity ticket" on stopping people smuggling.

"Now is the opportunity to see if they really are," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Hobart on Friday.

Asked whether the United States and Canada had offered to take asylum seekers from Nauru and Papua New Guinea, he said: "We are working all the time with the countries in the Bali process."

He said there were options available including Cambodia, Papua New Guinea or returning to home countries.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said the coalition had boasted during the election campaign that the asylum seeker issue had been solved and the policy was right.

"It's just another pathetic attempt at playing politics," Mr Albanese told the Nine Network.

"The government have not put forward any reason for, any rationale for, this policy."

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