According to the Newspoll published in ‘The Australian’, there is more bad news for the ALP with its core support falling one point in the past fortnight. The Coalition lost two points to be at 48 per cent and on two-party preferred terms continues to hold a commanding lead of 58-42 per cent.
The Government will plough ahead and bring new migration laws to Parliament despite the Opposition saying it will not support the changes.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard tried to win the Coalition’s support by changing draft laws that would allow the Government to process asylum seekers’ claims in another country.
The change would mean asylum seekers could be deported only if Australia’s Immigration Minister was satisfied their claims would be processed and they would not be returned to a country where they faced persecution.
But Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who met with the PM for only 15 minutes to discuss changes, has put forward his own amendments that would effectively rule out the Government’s Malaysian people swap deal.
His plan would mean the Government could send asylum seekers only to countries that are signatories to the UN Convention on Refugees.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen conceded the Government would have to stick to onshore processing of asylum seeker claims if the Coalition held its line.
He said the Opposition was against the Malaysia solution because “they are scared it will work”.
Each party accused the other of hypocrisy and playing politics with the issue of border control.
Mr Abbott said the Government should endorse his amendments because they would ensure adequate human rights protections.
“What the Government’s new proposal does is pay lip service to protections without actually guaranteeing them,” he said.
Mr Abbott defended his policy to turn some boats of asylum seekers back to Indonesia, which is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees.