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Australia to reopen controversial offshore detention centre

Australia to reopen controversial offshore detention centre

Morrison said he would reopen the detention centre, which was closed past year, to cope with what he predicted would be an influx of transfers from Manus Island and Nauru.

Australia's prime minister has announced that a controversial offshore detention center for asylum seekers will be reopened.

The vote has paved the way for border protection to be a major issue in the general election, which Morrison on Tuesday said would be held in May despite the historic defeat.

"I am not at liberty to go into the detail of what they are, for obvious reasons".

The government has advice from security and intelligence chiefs that the amendments, which it opposed, could send a signal to people smugglers that Australia's border security policies are being relaxed.

Immigration Minister David Coleman said on February 10 the change could bring a return of the days when thousands of asylum-seekers traveled to Indonesia and then paid smugglers to take them on to Australia by boat.

"The opening of Christmas Island, I believe, was a political gesture created to fuel domestic political unrest but I'm anxious that we'll have tragic consequences because this is a government addicted to slogans and fear", he added.

Mr Morrison declared national security measures would be strengthened under the government's Operation Sovereign Borders after the medivac bill was passed.

Australia's conservative minority government suffered a monumental political defeat on Tuesday, becoming the first administration in almost a century to lose a vote on major legislation and fuelling calls for a snap election.

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The Prime Minister during question time this afternoon dug the boot into Labor over national security concerns emerging from the bill.

"If they do come, you can thank the Labor Party and Bill Shorten because he is the one who has led this process".

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison shakes hands with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten during the International Women's Day breakfast.

"What we have done is got the balance right".

"But we also want to make sure for people who have been in our care, detained, for over five and a half years in most cases, but they are subject to humane treatment. The fact of the matter is this bill is about providing treatment to sick people", Shorten told Parliament."We can have strong borders while still fulfilling our duty of care to the people in our care".

"I totally repudiate the attacks of the government, seeking to whip up fear and hysteria, seeking to lure people smugglers to entice people onto boats to come to Australia", he told reporters.

"It should come as no surprise to people that people smugglers have heard what is going on", Mr Dutton said.

The reference to 2001 harks back to the beginning of the highly-charged debate over boat people debate in Australian politics, when John Howard refused to allow the Norwegian cargo ship, MV Tampa, from landing at Christmas Island with survivors of a people smuggling venture.