Howard asylum seeker policies back

REVISITING the ‘Pacific Solution' is the answer to the asylum seeker debate, according to Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

During a campaign visit to Lismore on Thursday, Mr Abbott confirmed the former Howard Government's immigration policy would be echoed by the Coalition if it wins the upcoming Federal election.

“How do you feel knowing people are dying at sea while on these boats trying to get to Australia?” he asked.

The Pacific Solution would include bringing back the controversial Temporary ProtectionVisa (TPV), which is imposed on unauthorised asylum seekers when they arrived in Australia.

The TPV requires refugees to reapply for protection over a period of a few years, and does not allow a refugee to be employed or to travel overseas.

When asked whether his strategy to simply turn the boats around was defying Australia's commitment to the United Nat-ions Refugee Convention, the Coalition Leader carried on with his initialargument.

“We are not talking about that now, what we are talking about is asylum seekers on boatsdying at sea trying to get to Australia,” he said.

“These people come here without papers. There are asylum seekers who come to Australia by plane and through the right channels who have legitimate papers and can be processed.

“It's about protecting our borders.”

Mr Abbott continued to say the Coalition will have less tolerance for those asylum seekersarriving in Australia who have deliberately discarded their identification documents.

According to the Dep-artment of Immigration and Citizenship, asylum seekers and refugees made up 13,750 of the 150,000 immigrants into Australia last year.


Elliot slams Abbott's backward approach


AUSTRALIA was faced with a ‘very stark choice' between the approaches of two totally different leaders in the upcoming Federal election, the Federal Member for Richmond said.

Labor MP Justine Elliot responded to Tony Abbott's visit to the Northern Rivers this week, where the Coalition Leader criticised the Government in true election bickering style.

“Julia Gillard will take the economy forward with investments in training and infrastructure, while Mr Abbott wants to go backwards with cuts to health and education and the worst aspects of WorkChoices,” Ms Elliot said.

As an election date looms, 1.4 million Australians are not enrolled to vote, including more than half a million 18- to 24-year-olds.

Ms Elliot said she encouraged young people to enrol before an official election date was set.

“As was previously the case, the Government wants to allow young people to have seven days to enrol to vote once an election is called, but the Opposition does not support our legislation,” she said.

“I would encourage young people in our community to take advantage of their right and enrol.”

During his campaign visit, Mr Abbott spoke with members ofAlstonville Public School's P&C committee about a new school hall that was built as part of the Government's Building the Education Revolution (BER) program, which he called a ‘rip-off'.

“We said from day one that you can't do that much construction without encountering some problems, but the important thing is dealing with them,” Ms Elliot said.

“As the Prime Minister said earlier this week, looking back with hindsight, not in a moment of urg-ency as the global financial crisis was upon us, of course there have been lessons learnt.”

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