The opposition has challenged Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to return from Papua New Guinea with a crystal-clear guarantee that asylum seekers detained on Manus Island and found to be refugees won’t be resettled in Australia.
Mr Morrison will travel to Port Moresby this week for talks with his PNG counterparts.
Labor immigration spokesman Richard Marles said resettlement arrangements had become murky since PNG said last month it would resettle some but not all of those found to be genuine refugees.
Mr Marles warned that if some have to be repatriated back to Australia, there could be dire consequences for the flow of asylum seeker boats.
Australia should not be put back on the table, Mr Marles said.
“The challenge for Mr Morrison this week is to make it crystal-clear that’s not what is going on,” he told ABC Radio.
“Nothing would be more detrimental to Australia’s strategy to reducing the flow of boats from Indonesia than that.”
The federal government is in talks with other Pacific countries about sharing the resettlement of refugees.
The first asylum seekers found to be genuine will be resettled in PNG as early as May, as soon as the country’s parliament approves the program.
Mr Marles has also renewed calls for the Abbott government to release an interim report into the February violence at the Manus Island centre which left one asylum seeker dead.
The review is being conducted by a former secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Robert Cornall.
Mr Marles said it was important to understand why Manus Island was “melting down” under Mr Morrison’s watch.
A spokeswoman for Mr Morrison said the department has received the progress report and will brief the minister.
The government was following the same processes as Labor did when the Nauru centre was burned down last year.
“The final report will be released, consistent with those same processes,” she told AAP in a statement.
Labor did not release the report into the riot at Nauru in July 2013 until after the election, and had delayed other similar reports.