Abbott's office plays down asylum-seeker remarks
From: The Australian
April 15, 2010 4:28PM
TONY Abbotts office has had to clarify comments he made today suggesting a permanent ban on asylum-seekers who arrive by boat being granted permanent residency.
The Opposition Leader appeared to flag a tough new immigration policy on radio today that would not allow boatpeople to get permanent residency
Well, if we said to them you will not get a permanent visa, you will not get permanent residency if you turn up this way, no ifs, no buts, you just wont get permanent residency, full stop, end of story, he told the Macquarie Radio network.
If thats the clear message that was going out there would be no product for the people-smugglers to sell and thats not the message the Rudd government is giving.
His remarks appeared to go further than the Coalitions recent proposal to bring back the return of controversial temporary protection visas introduced by the Howard government and abolished when Labor was elected.
Many TPV holders ultimately were granted permanent residency and the lack of certainty for thousands of people whose claims of asylum were found to be genuine was cited as having devastating mental health impacts.
But Mr Abbotts office this afternoon sought to clarify the remarks, saying they were meant to indicate that permanent residency would be denied to new arrivals as consistent with the Coalition position.
Earlier this month, Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said a Coalition government would have a determination equal to the Howard government in stopping the boats.
We are not ruling anything out, he told The Australian.
Mr Morrison also sparked controversy when he argued the Rudd government had allowed migration to rise too high and the net migration intake of 300,000 a year was unsustainable.
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