Processing them offshore is all well and good but what is the result of the processing going to be? How is it going to stop the flow and what is she going to do about sending these sham refugees back whence they came? So far she sounds like Rudd all over again to me. Abbott sums it up very well below and Andrew Bolt has a detailed fisking

JULIA Gillard will “relentlessly” pursue the creation of a regional processing centre, claiming it would be a “durable solution” to the asylum-seeker problem.

The Prime Minister defended her proposal today as Tony Abbott hit the airwaves to attack the policy as insufficient to stop boat arrivals and to accuse Labor as hypocritical on border protection.

“It would be a better solution and a more durable solution to have a regional processing centre where asylum seeker claims are processed and a fair sharing then of the refugees who are found to be genuine through that process,” Ms Gillard told ABC radio.

She also defended her credentials as a manager of strategic regional partnerships and indicated she would take a co-operative approach to discussing her proposal with Australia’s neighbours.

“I have had some foreign policy experiences including representing this nation in the United States and in other countries,” she said. “But I believe I do bring to the job a perspective about co-operation about getting things done, about the remarkable things that can flow when you get people around a table working together. “I’m going to take that same perspective to talking about the regional processing centre.” [She sounds like Obama in drag]

Mr Abbott said the proposal was a vindication of Opposition support for offshore processing. “It certainly makes a mockery of the ferocious criticism which the Labor party has made of the Coalition on this issue,” he told ABC radio. “It really does make a mockery of all of that moral rectitude that we saw in abundance from the Labor Party for years. “But look, it’s good that she’s accepted that the Coalition was right all along.”

The opposition leader said the centre would not prevent boats from coming without the introduction of other measures such as temporary protection visas. “All that would happen under Labor is that East Timor would become a way station. People would not be allowed to stay in East Timor. It would just be, if you like, an East Timorese vacation before finally coming to Australia.” “You aren’t going to stop the boats just by negotiating with foreign countries. You’ve got to make changes here in Australia.”

But Immigration Minister Chris Evans disagreed, saying the regional processing centre would reduce the number of arrivals. “The international regional processing centre should see, we think, the number of arrivals to Australia reduced,” he told ABC radio.

“There’ll certainly be strong deterrence about getting on a boat to Australia. If you get on a boat to Australia and you end up in a processing centre in East Timor or anywhere else as a result, why would you do it? Why would you pay a people smuggler?”

However, Mr Evans conceded further discussion was needed with East Timor about the construction of such a centre given Ms Gillard’s announcement was met with surprise and scepticism by many in the country. East Timor has not yet committed itself to the concept and President Ramos-Horta revealed yesterday he had told Ms Gillard he would first need to discuss the idea with the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

Mr Abbott attacked the government over the level of consultation that had occurred before the announcement yesterday. “There’s no evidence there was any serious talks with the New Zealanders, with the East Timorese,” he told ABC radio. “There is no chance whatsoever of a Gillard government ever building a processing centre in East Timor.”

Mr Abbott described Ms Gillard as a “late convert panicked by the polls and with an election imminent”.