Federal Labor will continue to back offshore processing of asylum seekers despite a move by two of its MPs to end support for detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.
But the opposition wants the Abbott government to ensure all immigration detention centres provide safe, dignified and humane conditions.
In what was described as a “completely civil” debate the Labor caucus on Tuesday rejected a motion by MPs Melissa Parke and Anna Burke that called on the party to abandon its support of offshore processing.
Instead it adopted an alternative motion by opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles that “observed” four principles.
They included processing refugee claims in a timely manner, and ensuring the well-being of “all persons” at the Manus Island and Nauru centres are subject to independent oversight.
As well, the government should ensure asylum seekers were held in conditions that were in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention and human rights standards.
The motion also noted a state of uncertainty and fear had been created amongst asylum seekers, describing it as a great failing of the government.