National Party Leader says PNG is shortcut to Queensland
NATIONALS leader Warren Truss yesterday described Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's PNG solution as a shortcut to Queensland for asylum seekers.
On the campaign trail with LNP Capricornia candidate Michelle Landry, Mr Truss said many were simply walking from PNG to Saibai Island in the Torres Strait during low tide.
"It's up to about 3 or 4km to Saibai Island, and that's in Queensland," Mr Truss said. "Taxpayers foot the bill to PNG and on a low tide they could virtually walk to Queensland."
He said it was clear Mr Rudd's plan to thwart asylum seekers was not working, with two Somali men picked up on another island in the Torres Strait on Saturday.
Customs also spotted another pair of asylum seekers in a canoe off Papua New Guinea's coast.
Immigration Minister Tony Burke said no matter which route asylum seekers took to Australia, they wouldn't be settled in Australia.
"Whether you come through Christmas Island, the Torres Strait or via Antarctica, if you come by boat without a visa, the policy affects you in exactly the same way," he said.
"We always said people would test our resolve in different ways. Each of these individuals have two things in common: they arrived by boat without a visa and they will not be settled in Australia."