Australia's 'Pacific Solution' to end?

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According to the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the newly elected Labor government may end the so-called 'Pacific Solution' policy that was put in place six years ago.

The Pacific Solution is the name given to Australia's policy of transporting asylum seekers to detention centers on small islands in the Pacific Ocean such as Christmas Island, Manus Island, and the island nation of Nauru.

"This has been one of the most unsavoury aspects of the former Coalition Government's dealings with people who are escaping brutal regimes. The Rudd Labor government's commitment will restore Australia back to what has been a far more positive history of receiving people who are escaping brutal regimes," said ACFID executive director Paul O'Callaghan.

After the Australian federal elections on 24 November 2007, Kevin Rudd emerged as the country's new prime minister. According to his election campaign, Rudd plans to scrap Australia's offshore immigrant detention center in Nauru.

However, no time frame was specified and it's unclear whether this is indicative of a more general softening of Australia's asylum policies.

"The hope here is that fairness, justice and humanity prevail and that this new Labor government not only follows through quickly with disbanding the so-called Pacific Solution policy and that it ensures that all of those who are genuine refugees enmeshed in this policy will be resettled in safety and security," said David Manne, coordinator for the Australian Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre.