Senate to debate offshore processing bill

Canberra, AAP – The government is expected to push through legislation to put beyond doubt the authority to enter offshore processing agreements with other countries.

The bill, which took just over an hour to be introduced and pass the lower house on Wednesday, authorises commonwealth actions and spending on regional processing dating back to August 18, 2012.

It is likely to be debated and put to a vote in the Senate on Thursday.

The Australian Greens say the government rushed the bill to try to circumvent a future decision of the High Court on a challenge to the spending of taxpayers’ money on the Nauru detention centre.

The opposition is concerned about the limited time to consider the bill but supported the laws because regional processing is Labor policy.

Parliament rises on Thursday for a lengthy winter break, leaving any unfinalised legislation unable to be dealt with for weeks.

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