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Latham's ''victory": Labor spin.



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Senator Amanda Vanstone MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

Latham's 'Victory': Labor Spin

VPS 030/2004

Mark Latham will attempt to convince the Australian public that his strong leadership has resulted in a firm stance on border protection. In reality he gave in to the Labor Left last week. Any suggestion of a genuine victory is nothing more than a win for spin.

The Government's policy is to deter boats and turn them around. Latham's policy is to use a new but ineffective Coast Guard to meet and greet illegal entrants.

Latham's policy is everything people smugglers want. Clearly under Latham's policy the people smugglers will have plenty of customers because Latham's Coast Guard will escort them to the mainland. That's just what they want - access to the Australian legal system.

By saying he will seize small, wooden fishing vessels Latham is taking a feather duster to the people smugglers. So much for a strong border protection policy.

His policy statement on 23 January 2004 was defacto surrender to the demands of the Labor Left before debate at the Labor party conference. He gave in last week just to put on a stage-managed win for himself today.

The debate today never mattered. The conference was empty theatre.

Latham's so-called Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) is in reality a shortcut to permanent residence.

Labor's open door policy will see Australia's shores flooded with people smuggling boats once again.

31 January 2004