SEEKING ASYLUM: More than 100 people drowned when a boat sank near Christmas Island last year.
SEEKING ASYLUM: More than 100 people drowned when a boat sank near Christmas Island last year. NATSAR

Northern Rivers candidates offer views on asylum seekers

ASYLUM seeker policy is an emotive election issue.

Yesterday candidates and sitting members across the Northern Rivers gave varied responses on the issue.

Sitting member for Page Janelle Saffin said asylum seekers had the right to seek protection and asylum.

"I'm hopeful that we get to a regional solution that all of us are signed up to," Ms Saffin said.

Nationals candidate for Page Kevin Hogan said the Nationals believed the PNG solution was a "good idea in principle" but had reservations about Labor's implementation.

He said the Coalition would introduce offshore processing, power for the Navy to turn back boats, and re-introduce temporary protection visas.

Sitting member for Richmond Justine Elliot said Labor wanted to stop people drowning at sea.

"To stop people smugglers and to destroy their business model we have to send a hard message; if they put people on a boat and send them to Australia these people will not be settled here," Ms Elliot said.

However, Nationals candidate for Richmond Matthew Fraser said the Coalition's policy on the issue "was all about securing Australia's borders".

Greens candidates for Page and Richmond, Desley Banks and Dawn Walker, said "seeking asylum is not illegal".

The Greens intend to end the detention of children, close offshore detention camps and pursue a Senate inquiry into current asylum seeker policy.



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