This is a request from the Bush administration, and follows President Bush’s statement that he would like to see Guantanamo closed. This is not a request from President Elect Obama.
The Bush Administration first approached Australia in early 2008 with a request to resettle a small group of detainees from Guantanamo in Australia.
After appropriate consideration, Australia declined to allow resettlement of that small group in Australia.
The Bush Administration approached Australia again in early December 2008 with a second request to assist with relocation.
Australia, as an ally of the United States, is examining this second request.
Notwithstanding that it is unlikely Australia would accept these detainees, given the fact that the Bush Administration has formally approached Australia with this request, the request demands proper consideration.
The Australian Government makes no apology for taking a very hard line against terrorism, which includes continuing to work closely with the United States and other allies worldwide in the global effort to defeat terrorism.
Media Statement January 2nd
Julia Gillard Deputy Prime Minister