Manus transfers not good enough - Abbott

Last updated 16:45 21/11/2012
Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott.
Reuters
SUNK: Tony Abbott's policy to tow back asylum seeker boats to Indonesia has been panned as counter-productive by the chief of Asean.

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Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the government's first transfer of asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea's Manus Island is not good enough.

The government has transferred an initial 19 people, including four children, to Manus Island as part of its tough offshore processing regime announced in August.

Mr Abbott supports offshore processing but said the government should not be "boasting" about such a small number.

"It's just not good enough that this government thinks it's an achievement to send just 18 (sic) people to Manus when you've got 2000 people coming every month," he told reporters in Perth.

"If it's going to work it's got to involve all of the people who are coming illegally to this country, not just a handful."

"This government doesn't have its heart in it."

Asked about Amnesty International's damning assessment of the processing facilities on Nauru, Mr Abbott said asylum seekers could not expect four or five-star treatment.

"There needs to be consequences for people who do the wrong thing," he said.

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- AAP

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