Australia and Malaysia in asylum seeker agreement

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that Australia and Malaysia are in agreements to trade asylum seekers.

The Prime Minister and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said that they were on the verge of signing a bilateral agreement.

The deal would mean 800 people who tried to enter Australia by boat would be immediately taken to Malaysia and in return, Australia will take 4000 genuine refugees from Malaysia over a four year period.

The Immigration Minister said: “I know this will be controversial.”

“I expect protests, I expect legal challenges, I expect resistance.

“As the prime minister said, nobody should doubt our resolve to break the people smugglers’ business model.”

Ms Gillard said it was a complex issue but she is losing her patience over the rioting inside Australian detention centres.

“I can understand why people have been angry seeing those disturbances, I’ve been angry seeing those disturbances at detention centres,” she said.

“This is happening in defiance of our laws and causing destruction of government property.”

Mr Bowen expected the exchange would cost $292 million over the forward estimates period.

The deal between Australia and Malaysia has been in negotiations over the past seven months. Mr Bowen believes it should be finalised in the next few weeks.