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Friday, 13 September 2013 - 13:07
A telephone call from Australian New Premier to the President
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TONY Abbott has put regional and people-smuggling priorities ahead of global foreign policy, speaking to the leaders of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka before Barack Obama.

 

Yesterday the prime minister-elect discussed relations with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa regarding asylum-seekers heading for Australia.

 

The two agreed to have comprehensive discussions during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo in November.

 

Details of the conversation emerged as a report by the parliamentary library revealed Australia spent more than 3 billion dollars a year, on asylum-seekers, with the cost of detaining and intercepting boat people among the heaviest.

 

Abbott, who will become prime minister next week, has discussed the issue of people-smuggling with Sri lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter ONeill since last Saturdays election victory.

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