Senate report slams Malaysia solution


A majority of members in the senate inquiry into the Malaysia solution have said the 'atrocious' policy should not proceed.

A Senate report into the federal government's Malaysia people swap deal solution shows it is terrible public policy and should not proceed, the coalition says.

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Tuesday tabled a report of its inquiry into Labor's plan to process asylum seekers in Malaysia.

It recommended the government not proceed with an arrangement with Malaysia to transfer and resettle asylum seekers there.

The plan was scuttled by a High Court ruling on August 31 but the government is pursuing amendments to the Migration Act to give it, and future governments, the power to pursue offshore processing of asylum seekers.

Committee members and Labor senators Mark Furner and Trish Crossin made a dissenting report but were outnumbered by Liberal senators Gary Humphries, Michaelia Cash and Sue Boyce, along with Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Cash, the opposition's junior immigration spokeswoman, said Labor's decision to send asylum seekers to Malaysia had been cobbled together with little attention to detail and no due diligence.

"The process has been a shambles," Senator Cash said.

"The committee's report merely strengthens the case that the government must dump this atrocious non-solution to boat arrivals."

Committee chair Gary Humphries said the government should dump the "atrocious policy" immediately.

Senator Gary Humphries told the Senate submissions to the inquiry were overwhelmingly against the Malaysia people swap deal, he said.

Senator Humphries was appalled the federal government had denied the committee access to the "pre-removal guidelines" document.

Senator Humphries added that left a "disturbing" question about to what extent the guidelines protect the interests of asylum seekers who could be transferred to Malaysia.

Labor senator Trish Crossin attacked the Commonwealth immigration ombudsman, accusing him of performing "unprofessionally" during the inquiry and providing a submission riddled with "major" factual errors.

She added Christmas Island was in her electorate and how traumatised her constituents were when a boat smashed into the cliffs there last year.

A vote on Labor's draft laws to change the Migration Act to allow the Malaysia deal is expected in the lower house later this week.

Source: AAP