Australia's High Court rejects Malaysian asylum-seeker deal

By REUTERS
August 31, 2011 10:00

 
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SYDNEY - Australia's highest court on Wednesday scuttled government plans for a refugee swap with Malaysia in a major policy setback for Prime Minister Julia Gillard, already trailing badly in opinion polls and facing defeat at the next election.

Australia and Malaysia signed a deal in July under which 800 asylum seekers would be sent to Malaysia for processing. In return, Australia would accept 4,000 refugees from Malaysia whose claims for resettlement had been accepted.

"It's a slap in the face for the Gillard government, it's a huge setback for the Malaysian solution," said Marianne Dickie, an expert on migration law at Australian National University.

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