Rudd takes tough stand on boat people
November 23, 2007 – 5:52AM
Labor leader Kevin Rudd says he will take a tough stance on border security, including turning back boat people.
In an interview with The Australian on Friday, Mr Rudd said a Labor government would take asylum seekers rescued from leaking vessels to Christmas Island, but would turn back seaworthy boats.
He also said Labor would not lift the current intake of African refugees.
The measures bring Labor broadly into line with the coalition's policies.
“You would turn them back,” Mr Rudd said of boats approaching Australia.
He said Labor believed in an orderly immigration system enforced by deterrence.
A Labor government would aim to deter asylum seekers by using the threat of detention and Australia's close ties with Indonesia.
“You cannot have anything that is orderly if you allow people who do not have a lawful visa in the country to roam free,” he told The Australian.
“That's why you need a detention system. I know that's politically contentious, but one follows from the other.
“Deterrence is effective through the detention system, but also your preparedness to take appropriate action as the vessels approach Australian waters on the high seas.”
Mr Rudd's stand comes as a boatload of Indonesians were pulled from a leaking vessel in the Timor Sea earlier this week.