Saturday, July 3, 2010

Asylum seeker policy moves to centre stage

Voters can expect to see clarification of  Labor's asylum seeker policy when Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivers a major statement of foreign affairs at the Lowey Institute for International Policy in Sydney on Tuesday.

During her press conference regarding the mining tax deal yesterday, Ms Gillard said she had further policy areas to address with asylum seekers at the top of the list, followed by population policy and climate change.

The issue of asylum seekers is one of particular sensitivity to the Christian community with many churches and Christian organisations involved in advocacy and care for refugees.

In his fighting speech before being deposed as Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd warned of a 'lurching to the right' on the issue of asylum seekers if he was removed from office. He was referring to the belief in some Labor factions that the party need to toughen border protection in line with community views.

Ms Gillard, speaking to The Age, said their would be 'no quick fix' and denied that any toughening of the laws would represent a lurch to the right.

'I don't think this is appropriately diagnosed as a left-right debate. It's a practical problem that requires practical solutions,' she said.

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