Won`t amend review process for asylum seekers: Oz PM

Afghans is said to be the largest single category of asylum seekers.

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2010, 12:14 PM IST

Melbourne: Two days ahead of the elections, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said that she will not amend the review process for asylum seekers.

While it is said that 90 percent of failed cases are overturned on appeal, Gillard referred that the number of such decisions were not conclusive enough to inform a broader judgement about the merits of the appeal process or to give a commitment to overhaul it, media report said today.

Gillard declined to say how many failed refugees had already had their decisions overturned because the "overwhelming majority" of those cases were still in the review process.

"[The] cases that are on appeal... are overwhelmingly in the review process so there is not a new stat to give about how those cases under current conditions will go," she said.

The report also said that Gillard`s plan to stop people smugglers was in disarray after 88 percent of Afghan asylum seekers had their refusals overturned on appeal.

Gillard said she saw no need to change the appeal process when questioned about the likelihood of a refusal being overturned.

"The laws and the processes here are the same that the Howard government used," she said.

"We haven`t changed the definition of refugee or the processes for appeal. They are the same. I don`t think they need to be changed. They are exactly the same ones as when Tony Abbott sat round a cabinet table," she said.

Afghans is said to be the largest single category of asylum seekers with over 3,800 having arrived since late 2008.

She also denied that the chances of establishing a regional processing centre in East Timor were unravelling after the armed forces and the Catholic Church in the tiny nation condemned the proposal.

"We`re in discussion with the government... but the door is open. Discussions will proceed if I am elected on Saturday," she said, adding we will continue to dialogue with East Timor.

PTI