The Australian Greens are accusing the Abbott government of appeasing an anti-democratic regime with reports it wants to resettle asylum seekers in Cambodia.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop asked Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to consider taking refugees who had sought asylum in Australia, the Cambodian foreign minister Hor Namhong told reporters after a meeting with Ms Bishop on Saturday.
He said the prime minister would take serious consideration of the request.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Ms Bishop had discussed the challenges people smuggling posed in the region as part of a wide-ranging agenda during meetings.
“There has been a significant level of co-operation between relevant agencies on people smuggling matters, and we will continue to work through the Bali Process to manage processing of illegal maritime arrivals and returns,” it said in a statement.
Why isn’t Australia standing up for the opposition?
Greens leader Christine Milne said on Sunday Australia was disgracing itself globally.
“Once again again its is appeasement of an anti-democratic regime, just like Tony Abbott did in Sri Lanka,” she told reporters in Hobart.Cambodia’s opposition party has boycotted parliament since the July elections, alleging widespread vote rigging, and its leaders were taken to court in January for inciting civil unrest.
“Why isn’t Australia standing up for the opposition and the examination of the election rorting that went on in Cambodia rather than appeasing the regime and trying to outsource Australia’s asylum seeker responsibilities?”
DFAT said Ms Bishop had discussed Cambodia’s domestic political situation during her meetings.