Australian government scraps doomed refugee bill

AP News
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Posted: Oct 13, 2011 4:37 AM
Australian government scraps doomed refugee bill

Australia's prime minister has scrapped a plan to send asylum seekers to Malaysia. The move keeps her fragile government from becoming the first in 82 years to have legislation rejected by Parliament's lower chamber.

Gillard had vowed to put legislation to a vote on Thursday that would enable her government to send asylum seekers to Malaysia in return for Australia resettling registered refugees from Kuala Lumpur.

Gillard says she canceled the vote because a nonaligned lawmaker doomed it to failure by declaring his opposition. Gillard's minority government holds a single-seat majority in the lower chamber.

Gillard had hoped the swap deal would stem the tide of asylum seekers making the dangerous journey by boat to Australia.