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Asylum seekers arrive on Nauru

Last updated 14:42 14/09/2012

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The first asylum seekers to be processed on Nauru in four years have arrived and are settling into tent accommodation on the Pacific island.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen told reporters in Sydney the first transfer of a group of men by aircraft from Christmas Island to Nauru on Friday morning had gone smoothly and without incident.

"Today is a significant day," Mr Bowen said.

He said people smugglers had been "peddling lies" that offshore processing would not happen.

Mr Bowen said work was continuing on other recommendations arising from an expert panel on asylum seeker police led by former defence chief Angus Houston and released last month.

"Implementing all of them is key to breaking the people-smugglers' business model," he said.

The minister said more transfers would occur next week and in weeks to come.
Decisions on who would be taken to Nauru would be made on operational grounds by the immigration

department.

But Mr Bowen said a "broad cross section" of asylum seekers would be involved.

Asked if that included children, Mr Bowen said: "We are not going to provide loopholes for people to exploit."

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- AAP

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