Minister's departure may complicate Timor solution

The resignation yesterday of the nation's deputy prime minister Mario Carrascalao could complicate the plan for a refugee processing centre

A SENIOR member of East Timor's parliament, Fretilin Party vice-president Arsenio Bano, said there appeared to have been no progression of the Prime Minister's idea, which was announced in one of her first major speeches as leader.

"I think it is forgotten already," Mr Bano told The Australian.

"I don't hear any further discussion has been taking place between officials from Australia and Timor."

Mr Bano said the dispute between Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and Mr Carrascalao could make it harder for Mr Gusmao to push the idea, should he be inclined to do so.

"I don't think he's willing to take another problem against the parliament of Timor-Leste," he said. "He is governing a chaotic coalition."

Australia's own complicated government may also prove a hurdle. Although an offshore processing centre would not require new legislation, Labor's reliance on the independents and the Greens, all of whom either have reservations about the idea or are outright opposed to it, may make Ms Gillard reluctant to proceed for fear that it could cost her their support on other bills.

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