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He said the United States refugee resettlement deal, which will take up to 1250 people, was the priority.

The Australian government has long held the hard-line position that operating the ceaselessly cruel offshore detention centres will serve as a deterrent to would-be asylum seekers, and that relenting to any extent would encourage further arrivals. They feared for their safety if they had to leave the compound.

That decision comes as almost 600 refugees and asylum seekers, who are cut off from food, water, and medical supplies, remain barricaded inside a now-closed detention centre over fears for their safety.

Mr Turnbull ignored calls from the opposition and even a member within his own party to take the offer, saying he would first pursue a deal with the Trump administration to resettle 1250 refugees.

"Whilst it has not been taken up immediately, the Prime Minister thanked New Zealand for the offer, acknowledged it and it is something that still remains in place".

Ms Ardern's relationship with Australia has been controversial since her election with deputy PM Julie Bishop labeling the 37-year-old New Zealand leader "untrustworthy".

"In that wake of that arrangement we can consider other ones".

More than 600 refugees have barricaded themselves on Manus Island.

Nicole Judge, who worked for the Salvation Army at the centre, said she had advocated for closing Manus Island but didn't want refugees and asylum seekers to be left there to suffer.

"Of course, there would need to be conditions", Shorten said.

He said the statement would be "music to the ears of people smugglers" and that he was making policy on the run.

"We have an arrangement with the United States where a substantial number - 1,250 - can, subject to the USA rigours vetting, be resettled in the United States". "It is now an acute situation that Australia is dealing with".

"It is so important that we bring them here and allow them to make a contribution and our neighbours across the ditch are showing us up", he told ABC Insiders.

The Greens leader also defended Adam Bandt's description of Mr Dutton as a "terrorist", remarks made during a refugee rally on Saturday.

"We are talking about people who have been attacked and assaulted in these camps, where women who have been raped have been denied terminations".