Australia

Labor flags five nations to take refugees

Labor's Bill Shorten has nominated five nations he wants to consider resettling refugees. (AAP)

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has nominated five nations he wants to consider resettling refugees held in offshore detention.

Bill Shorten has nominated a handful of countries including Japan, Canada and New Zealand that he wants to consider resettling refugees being held in Australia's offshore detention centres.

The opposition leader has promised to retain the Turnbull government's tough "stop the boats" policies if he wins power at the next election, but intends to more aggressively pursue third-party resettlement options.

"Our plan is to negotiate regional resettlement options with the countries in our region," Mr Shorten told ABC radio on Tuesday.

"I think there's big economies right through the Asian continent who would be, I think, worthwhile for us to talk to."

Mr Shorten suggested Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada and New Zealand as his key targets for negotiations.

Roughly 1500 asylum seekers and refugees remain on Manus Island and Nauru.

Several hundreds refugees have already been sent to the United States under an ongoing refugee swap deal which offers up to 1250 places.

"I'm pleased the Turnbull government has been able to keep negotiations with America on track. This issue should be above party politics," Mr Shorten said.

"I think that Australians actually expect their government to deter the people smugglers, but not keep people in indefinite detention."

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