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Latham will do 'whatever it takes'

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Latham Will Do 'Whatever It Takes'

VPS 029/2004

Mr Latham will do whatever it takes to help him win the next election.

His first approach has been to placate the Left over immigration policy.

He is covering his back from disunity within the ALP.

He claimed he wants 'strong border protection' and an 'orderly migration system', yet his policy about-face last week can only achieve the opposite.

He has sold out on border protection to achieve a veneer of Labor unity before the election.

Labor's new policies are an open-door for unauthorised arrivals.

Mr Latham needs to realise that talk is cheap but if it is backed up with weak policy, it can cost the Australian taxpayers millions upon millions of dollars.

If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that if asylum seekers can't get to Australia's Migration Zone, are processed offshore and can't get access to our generous judicial system, then they are much less likely to try to pay people smugglers.

Labor's new immigration policy will water down every one of the factors that have dramatically reduced the number of boats in the last few years.

Mr Latham's policy has virtually guaranteed that all asylum seekers will get permanent residency if they cannot be sent home.

Labor has not capped the numbers of asylum seekers who will be given permanent residency.

If boats arrive with hundreds of asylum seekers, they will all be processed here and allowed to stay permanently in Australia.

They will be released into the community and be eligible for Medicare and Centrelink benefits at taxpayer expense.

There are over 20 million refugees in temporary camps around the world. Will Mr Latham allow in all who can get to Australia's shores?

Labor's coastguard policy has now been relegated to an expensive, taxpayer-funded escort service to bring boats full of asylum seekers to our shores for processing.

Mr Latham ignores the fact that the people who run the smuggling operations don't actually get on the boats themselves, they hire other people who are sacrificed as part of their operations.

While Mark Latham's efforts to enamour Carmen Lawrence may have worked, the people smugglers around the world will not be paralysed into such a stupor.

Labor's new policy on border protection is a sop to the Left and a financial boon for people smugglers who will ramp up their operations now that Mr Latham has put out the welcome mat.

Mark Latham has already completely miscalculated the cost of processing offshore at Nauru and Manus Island by hundreds of millions of dollars.

How can the Australian electorate trust him to get the policy mix right on such an important issue as border security?

30 January 2004