PM dodges US asylum seeker deal concerns

File image of detainees on Manus Island Source: AAP

Malcolm Turnbull insists the federal government will deal with one administration "at a time" on the US refugee deal.

There continues to be uncertainty over whether the deal to resettle some refugees kept on Nauru and Manus Island in the United States will be upheld once Donald Trump takes power in the US.

Australia has agreed the one-off deal with the present US administration led by President Obama, but the Immigration Department has confirmed actual resettlement could take months, or even longer.

Malcolm Turnbull has averted questions about the viability of his refugee deal.

"We deal with one administration at a time," the prime minister told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

Concerns about the agreement to resettle detainees on Manus Island and Nauru have heightened after Bush administration advisor Karl Rove said US president-elect Donald Trump could easily stop the transfer if they weren't on US soil by January 20 next year.

Mr Rove told Sky News it won't be hard for Mr Trump to tear up the deal if he wants to.

"If these people are not transferred off your offshore centres into the United States by the 20th of January, he can easily stop it," Mr Rove said.


Source SBS News

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch