Matthew Fraser stands by Tony Abbott's policies on refugees.
Matthew Fraser stands by Tony Abbott's policies on refugees. John Gass

Matthew Fraser backs Abbott’s tent city

THE Nationals' Richmond candidate Matthew Fraser denies the Coalition has been spooked into a tougher asylum seeker policy due to the strong support the Prime Minister's hardline stance is winning in the polls.

Mr Fraser said the Coalition's asylum seeker policy had remained consistent since the Howard Government where as the Labor party "has had eight different stances".

"The policy hasn't changed there's just more detail coming out," he said.

He said feedback indicated local people were not falling for the Rudd return with many voters expressing surprise at his high standing in the national polls.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announced today if he wins office at the next election he would build a tent city to house 2,000 asylum seekers on Nauru as a cheap alternative to the government's Manus Island resettlement program.

Under the plan, Nauru could also host a village for people granted asylum status.

An Essential poll showed 61% of people approved of the government's policy announced earlier this month.

The announcement comes amid preparations to expand the Manus Island detention centre for asylum seekers under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's controversial hardline plan announced on July 19.

It involves sending asylum seekers who arrive by boat to Papua New Guinea with no chance of being resettled in Australia, although doubt has since been cast on this last point.

The government's plan is winning favour among Coalition voters, research released this week indicates.

An Essential poll showed 61% of people approved of the government's policy announced earlier this month.

Almost 60% of Coalition voters said they approved of the policy, while just 14% disapproved.

Three-quarters of Labor voters approved of the policy.

Overall, less than a third (28%) said they disapproved of Labor's policy, while 11% said they didn't know.

One week after Mr Rudd announced his plan, Mr Abbott unveiled his $10 million policy to place a three-star commander at the head of a joint taskforce responsible for implementing the Coalition's border protection policy.

The taskforce would finalise and issue protocols to naval commanders on turning around asylum boats, while additional border protection vessels would be leased.

Has Labor's hardline approach to refugees influenced how you will vote?

This poll ended on 06 August 2013.

Current Results

Yes

74%

No

12%

It has not influenced my decision

12%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Immigration Minister Tony Burke told Fairfax Radio there was some "merit" in the Coalition's Nauru announcement, but only as a complement, not a replacement to his government's PNG strategy. Mr Burke said that he had had 'similar conversations' with the Nauru government when he visited the country last week, about increasing capacity on the Island.

But he said the Coalition had undermined its own plan by placing a cap on its Nauru tent solution meaning it would be quickly overwhelmed.

Greens' leader Christine Milne has condemned both plans and said the government and Coalition were competing to outdo each other in cruelty.



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