Morrison makes own arrangements for Nauru visit
OPPOSITION immigration spokesman Scott Morrison will visit the asylum seeker processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island next week.
Mr Morrison said he had made his own travel arrangements after a request eight weeks ago for the government to facilitate the visit was rejected.
A spokesman for Mr Bowen said the government had agreed to facilitate that request, but would not foot the bill.
News of Mr Morrison's trip came as Mr Bowen faced a barrage of questions in Tuesday's Labor caucus meeting.
Mr Bowen took six questions on a range of issues relating to asylum seeker policy, including one about whether Labor MPs would be able to visit Nauru and Manus.
The other questions related to: what health measures were in place at the processing centres; whether there was any chance of asylum seekers being given the right to work in regional areas while their claims were processed in Australia; the accommodation conditions on Nauru; an update on the roll out of the recommendations contained in the Houston report, and; whether Australia's transfer deal with Malaysia had progressed.
Mr Morrison said he had informed Mr Bowen of his travel plans for next week and had asked for co-operation in arranging access as well as facilitating briefings with senior Australian officials and contractors at both locations.
"I have also made contact with the Foreign Minister of Nauru, Dr Kieren Keke, regarding my visit and appreciate the welcome that has already been provided," Mr Morrison said.
"I look forward to catching up with Dr Keke and his colleagues across the Nauruan Parliament again to discuss the various issues associated with the operation of offshore processing on Nauru.
"I will be seeking meetings with relevant national and provincial government authorities at both Nauru and Manus Island."
Mr Bowen's spokesman said Mr Morrison's request for help on next week's trip was being considered.
Meanwhile, further strain will be placed on the already stretched processing centres with authorities coming to the rescue of a another boat carrying asylum seekers.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare revealed late on Tuesday a boat carrying 83 people, including three crew members, needed assistance north-north-east of Christmas Island on Monday afternoon.
The passengers were taken to Christmas Island to undergo initial checks.