Leader of East Timor tells Australian prime minister to fully form asylum seeker policy

Friday, July 9, 2010

East Timor's leader, Xanana Gusmao, has advised Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard not to contact him about asylum seekers until a fully formed plan has been established.

Prime minister Gusamo claims he is preoccupied with other government matters and has asked Jose Ramos-Horta, East Timor's president, to continue deliberations on the issue with Gillard.

Gillard has proposed a regional processing approach center in East Timor to tackle the increasing numbers of Asylym seekers in the Oceanic Region, to which Gusamo has announced conditional support for by saying that he needed to see the details of the proposal before he could say for certain and would then need to be extensively reviewed in parliament.

Australian opposition leader, Tony Abbott, has criticised Gillard for not correctly involving East Timor in the proposal's development. This was in light of Gillard addressing the President of East Timor and not the prime minister directly, assuming the president holds the executive powers of the country. This, however, is not the case with the government holding the executive powers.

“The fact she did not know this and did not think to ask this demonstrates that frankly we have amateurs running the Australian government,” Abbot claimed.

Prime minister Gusamo, however, was not offended by Gillard's gaffe.