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Hard line on asylum seekers splits Labor -

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ALI MOORE, PRESENTER There's a split in Labor Party ranks tonight over Julia Gillard's people
swapping deal with Malaysia, following revelations on Lateline last night.

State MP's in Western Australia say their Federal colleagues have lost their moral compass, and
urged them to take a more compassionate approach to children and pregnant mothers seeking asylum.

Political correspondent Tom Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN, REPORTER: From the start, Julia Gillard's scheme to be tough on people smugglers, by
sending asylum seekers to Malaysia, risked alienating some of Labor's support base.

Following last night's revelations on Lateline, Tony Abbott's driving the wedge in hard.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: I expect the Greens, all these people who thought that the Howard
government was an absolute abomination, to be protesting in the streets against this effort of the
Gillard Government.

TOM IGGULDEN: Street protests, no.

But a group of Western Australian State Labor MP's are petitioning the Immigration Minister to back
away from the deal.

MARTIN WHITLEY, WA LABOR MP: I am embarrassed that it's a Labor policy. It's frankly, it's the sort
of policy I would have expected from the worst aspects of Liberal Party, not from the Labor Party.

TOM IGGULDEN: They're concerned Chris Bowen says he wants to send unaccompanied children and
pregnant women to Malaysia.

Fourteen have signed the petition and are calling on more to follow.

Chris Bowen's office isn't responding for now.

BEN WYATT, WA LABOR MP: I think the Federal Labor Government has got this one wrong, both on a
political and moral level, and I think it's perhaps it's up to some Labor MPs around this nation to
start making that clear to our federal colleagues.

TOM IGGULDEN: But the Federal Government is arguing giving anyone a break, even children, would
only encourage people smugglers.

CHRIS BOWEN, IMMIGRATION MINISTER, ON LATELINE: I don't want unaccompanied minors, I don't want
children getting on boats to come to Australia thinking or knowing that there is some kind of
exemption in place.

MARTIN WHITLEY: That's a ridiculous concept. I mean let's not worry about the politics of it. These
are children. Let's look after them. I mean I think we have a responsibility to look after these
kids are in his care.

TOM IGGULDEN: And that argument's finding agreement across the political spectrum.

JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: Is this what we want as a nation? To be responsible for sending
children to an environment where we have no responsibility, no control, no oversight?

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG, GREENS IMMIGRATION SPOKESPERSON: The idea that we can justify violating the
rights of children and the protections of children, to send a message of being tough, it is very
disappointing that we are even having this discussion.

TOM IGGULDEN: But the furore over sending children to Malaysia is just one issue threatening to
derail the deal. The revelations on Lateline last night that Malaysia wants to control the
selection of asylum seekers to take part in the swap, and take out references to human rights in
the agreement, has the Opposition accusing the Government of being dishonest.

SCOTT MORRISON, OPPOSITOIN IMMIGRATION SPOKESMAN: The Prime Minister is engaging in double-speak on
this issue, just like she did on East Timor. "It'll all be fine, it'll all turn out , we're still
talking", and we know what happened with East Timor, and it seems the Malaysia deal may well be on
the same track.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Greens too are suspicious about the undertakings the Government gave when it
announced the deal.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: We heard from the Prime Minister and the Immigration Minister on that day,
saying that these people, of course, would have their dignity respected and they would have, be
treated with the basic human rights as we understand in Australia. Well it seems from these
documents that's simply not the truth.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Malaysian cabinet is understood to be meeting next Wednesday to consider the
deal.

Tom Iggulden, Lateline.