Australia is reportedly "close" to signing a deal with the US under which the latter would accept 1,800 refugees currently living in camps in Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. According to local media, the deal was in the pipeline and could be announced soon.
While Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has not confirmed The Australian newspaper's report that such a deal is underway, he did opine that it would be considered as an important win.
"If it's the case, it will be another great achievement from the Turnbull government," he told channel Nine.
With Donald Trump winning the US presidential elections, many are concerned the resettlement may not reach fruition. Pyne, however, is optimistic that the agreement can be confirmed during Obama's presidency itself and added that there was "plenty of time" for that before Trump takes office.
"Peter Dutton (immigration minister) and the prime minister will make the necessary announcements about government policy in this area," he said.
Immigration Department Secretary Michael Pezzullo also preferred not to directly discuss the deal at the Senate Committee hearing at Parliament House on 11 November. "We're working actively on those arrangements, and Mr Dutton said that we get closer every day, so today we are closer than what we were yesterday," he said.
"When ministers are ready to pronounce on those sorts of arrangements, I'm sure they will."
The news of the refugee deal comes a day after the House of Representatives passed a coalition bill to place a lifetime visa ban on adults who attempted to enter Australia illegally by boat since July 2013.
Turnbull and Dutton have argued that the bill will cripple the network of people smugglers.