Labor, Phelps migration policy to ‘restart boats’
HOME Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has accused Labor of supporting a policy that will end offshore detention of asylum seekers and spark a return of illegal boat arrivals.
Mr Dutton has hit out at the Opposition’s support of a Bill to urgently transfer sick asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia, saying border protection would “collapse” under Labor and “the boats will restart”.
“What Labor is proposing here is a back doorway to end regional processing,” he said in Brisbane yesterday. “That is one of the three limbs that has stopped the boats.”
The comments come after Labor offered conditional support for crossbencher Kerryn Phelps’s Bill last week, before the legislation was delayed by the Government in a bid to duck a historic loss in the House of Representatives.
The Bill, being driven by Dr Phelps, the Member for Wentworth, would allow critically ill refugees to be flown to Australia for medical treatment on the advice of two doctors.
Labor finance spokesman Jim Chalmers hit back at Mr Dutton, saying the Liberals had made up “desperate lies”.
“The fact is, Labor will never let the people smugglers back into business,” he said.